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Apple sues NSO Group, the creator of ‘Pegasus’ spyware

7 min read
  • Apple sues maker of ‘Pegasus’ spyware, NSO Group.
  • Apple’s lawsuit caused NSO Group to be blacklisted by the U.S.
  • Apple donates $10 million to cybersecurity organizations and funds.

On Tuesday, Apple announced that it has filed a lawsuit against NSO Group, which is known for developing the advanced spyware ‘Pegasus’ to surveil users of iOS and Android devices. The company claims that it is suing the creators of the spyware in order to “ban them from further harming individuals by using Apple’s products and services.”

‘Pegasus’ has not been available to ordinary people, as it was developed in association with world governments and law enforcement agencies. However, many countries whose governments have purchased the spyware are known to violate basic human rights, therefore putting journalists and political opponents in danger.

Although Apple and its employees consistently state that iOS devices are exceptionally secure, they have also acknowledged especially recently that companies like NSO Group spend millions of dollars every year to crack Apple’s devices. Now, Apple hopes to put an end to spyware like this by suing NSO Group.

Apple devices are the most secure consumer hardware on the market — but private companies developing state-sponsored spyware have become even more dangerous. While these cybersecurity threats only impact a very small number of our customers, we take any attack on our users very seriously, and we’re constantly working to strengthen the security and privacy protections in iOS to keep all our users safe.

As Apple says, ‘Pegasus’ spyware enables governments and agencies to access microphone, camera, and other private data from Apple and Android devices. Hackers can use fake Apple IDs to send malware to users, giving them the ability to install the spyware without the user’s knowledge. NSO Group states that it only provides this spyware to ‘vetted’ military, data groups, and intelligence agencies for use against terrorists and other criminals, but a large data leak recently revealed that the spyware has been largely abused. This has forced NSO Group to be blacklisted by the U.S. government, barring all U.S. companies from working with it.

Apple has confirmed that the spyware only affects personal Apple devices and has not compromised any Apple servers or services. Apple also emphasized major security improvements that shipped with iOS 15 such as the BlastDoor mechanism which protects users messages.

While NSO Group spyware continues to evolve, Apple has not observed any evidence of successful remote attacks against devices running iOS 15 and later versions. Apple urges all users to update their iPhone and always use the latest software.

Besides this lawsuit, Apple has announced that it will contribute $10 million to cybersecurity organizations and funds. Full details of the lawsuit can be found on Apple’s website.

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