Apple sues Pegasus-owner NSO Group for spying on US users
- Apple has filed a lawsuit against Israel-based NSO Group for surveilling upon US citizens
- NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware is alleged to have been used to carry out surveillance against civilians
- NSO Group said it sells its spyware only to governments and law enforcement agencies
Apple Inc, the technology giant, has filed a lawsuit against the Israel-based NSO Group that owns and operates the Pegasus spyware of allegedly surveilling upon Apple device users in the United States. Apple further said that it plans to ban NSO from using the company’s software, services or devices to prevent “further abuse”.
The NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware has come under severe criticism for surveilling upon civilians, including human rights workers and journalists. Microsoft Corp, Meta Platforms Inc, Google-owner Alphabet Inc have also slammed NSO.
The NSO Group is accused of circumventing device software in a bid to compromise their security and selling the circumvention to governments for the purposes of surveillance. NSO claims that its spyware is only sold to governments and law enforcement agencies and saves “thousands of lives”.
“Pedophiles and terrorists can freely operate in technological safe-havens and we provide governments the lawful tools to fight it. NSO Group will continue to advocate for the truth,” the company said in a statement.
Apple’s lawsuit, filed in US District Court for Northern District of California, alleges that NSO’s tools were used in “concerted efforts in 2021 to target and attack Apple customers.” Further, the suit claims that citizens of the United States have been surveilled upon by NSO’s spyware on mobile devices that can and do cross international borders.
Apple has accused NSO Group of creating over 100 Apple ID user credentials in a bid to carry out attacks. The tech giant clarified that while Apple’s servers could not be hacked, the NSO Group manipulated and misused the servers to deliver attacks on Apple users.
Apple has also accused the NSO Group of providing consulting services for the attacks. Another allegation by Apple is that the NSO Group has forced the tech giant on a continuous ‘arms race’. “Even as Apple develops solutions and enhances the security of its devices, defendants are constantly updating their malware and exploits to overcome Apple’s own security upgrades,” said the tech giant.