Apple sues Israeli cyber firm NSO Group for surveillance

Apple sues Israeli cyber firm NSO Group for surveillance

Apple Inc. filed a lawsuit against Israeli cyber firm NSO Group and its parent company OSY Technologies on Tuesday for alleged surveillance and targeting of U.S. Apple users with its Pegasus spyware.

The iPhone maker is trying to ban NSO Group from using any Apple software, services or devices to prevent further abuse.

Apple is one of a number of companies and governments that have come to an end after NSO, the maker of the Pegasus hacking tool that watchdog groups say targeted human rights workers and journalists. U.S. officials placed the company on a trade blacklist earlier this month. NSO has faced legal action or criticism from Microsoft Corp. MSFT.O Meta Platforms Inc FB.O Alphabet Inc GOOGL.O and Cisco Systems Inc CSCO.O NSO, which is alleged to have been involved in circumventing security for products made by these companies and selling hacking tools to foreign governments.

NSO said thousands of lives have been saved by the use of its tools, because it sells its tools only to governments and law enforcement agencies, and has safeguards in place to prevent misuse.

We provide governments the lawful tools to fight it, because Pedophiles and terrorists can freely operate in technological safe-havens. A NSO Group spokeswoman said in a statement that they will continue to advocate for the truth.

In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Apple said NSO's tools were used in concerted efforts to target and attack Apple customers in 2021 and that U.S. citizens have been spooked by NSO snoopers on mobile devices that can and do cross international borders. Apple alleged that NSO Group created more than 100 fake Apple ID user credentials to carry out its attacks. Apple said that its servers were not hacked, but that NSO misused and manipulated the servers to deliver attacks on Apple users.

NSO has maintained that it sells its tools to clients, which is a fact that Apple claims that NSO Group was directly involved in providing consulting services for the attacks.

Defendants force Apple to engage in a continuous arms race even as Apple develops solutions and improves the security of its devices, Defendants are updating their malware and exploits to overcome Apple's security upgrades, Apple said.

Apple has so far seen no evidence of NSO's tools being used against Apple devices using iOS 15, the latest version of its mobile operating system.

The iPhone maker said it will donate $10 million, as well as any damages recovered in the lawsuit, to cybersurveillance research groups, including Citizen Lab, the University of Toronto group that first discovered NSO's attacks.