Technology giant Apple has filed a lawsuit against the Israeli cyber company NSO for harming its customers with the intrusion into the company’s devices using Pegasus software. “Private companies that develop state-funded spyware have become extremely dangerous,” it said.
According to the lawsuit, NSO and its customers exploited a vulnerability called FORCEDENTRY to create fake Apple accounts and sent malicious information that could infiltrate Pegasus software into Apple devices as well as Android devices. The attackers thus gained access to a microphone and camera and sensitive information on the devices, but the prosecution noted that Apple’s servers were not hacked in the attacks.
As part of the lawsuit, Apple is requesting that the court issue an order that will prevent the Israeli company from completely using Apple’s software, services or devices. “State-funded players like the NSO Group spend millions of dollars on advanced surveillance technologies without accountability. That needs to change,” said Craig Federigi, Apple’s vice president of software engineering.
“The steps we are taking today will send a clear message: in a free society, it is unthinkable to turn powerful state-funded spyware into weapons against those who seek to make the world a better place,” added Ivan Kerstich, Apple’s director of security engineering.
According to Apple officials, the iOS 15 operating system includes new security protections and so far no evidence has been identified of new successful NSO intrusions into devices with iOS 15 or with more updated versions. “Apple’s devices are the most secure hardware on the market – but private companies that are developing state-funded espionage capabilities have become even more dangerous,” Federigi said.
“While these cyber threats affect only a small number of our customers, we take the attack on our customers very seriously and we are repeatedly working to strengthen security and privacy protection in the operating system to keep our users safe.”
In addition to the lawsuit, Apple has announced that it will also donate $ 10 million, and compensation that will come from the lawsuit, to organizations that promote cyber-surveillance research, such as Citizen Love and Amnesty Tech that were involved in exposing NSO operations. The technology giant will also assist Citizens Love researchers, free of charge, in technical, intelligence and engineering fields so that they can continue their activities.