Spyware Pegasus: Apple sues NSO Group

After Whatsapp, Apple is also suing the software manufacturer NSO Group, which offers spy software such as Pegasus for iPhones, among other things. The NSO Group must be held responsible for “the monitoring of and targeted attack on Apple users,” said the iPhone manufacturer on Tuesday evening. Apple also applied for a permanent injunction “prohibiting the NSO Group from using any software, services or devices from Apple.”

The Israeli company NSO Group supplies surveillance software for governments and government agencies. Applications like Pegasus exploit vulnerabilities in software to infect target people’s devices with Trojans. According to media reports, the federal government is also one of the customers of the NSO Group. The BKA is also said to have bought Pegasus.

The NSO Group is also accused of regularly selling its software to authoritarian governments that use it to monitor journalists and the opposition. The company also regularly denies the allegations. Most recently, Pegasus hit the headlines because it was used against journalists, activists and government officials.

“Government-sponsored actors like the NSO Group are spending millions of dollars on sophisticated surveillance technology with no effective accountability. That has to change,” said Apple software chief Craig Federigh. Apple also emphasizes that the “sophisticated, state-sponsored surveillance technology” is only aimed at “a very small number of users” and affects not only iOS, but Android as well.

The lawsuit contains “new information” about the exploit for a now closed security hole that the NSO Group used to “break into a victim’s Apple device and install the latest version of Pegasus,” it said. The vulnerability was originally discovered by the Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto.

In addition to the lawsuit, Apple wants to strengthen organizations such as Citizen Lab and Amnesty Tech for their work and donate US $ 10 million and any damages from the lawsuit to organizations that research and protect against cyber surveillance. In addition, the Citizen Lab is to be supported with free technology and technical assistance.

Apple follows the Meta group, whose subsidiary Whatsapp had already taken legal action against the NSO Group at the end of 2019 – admissibly, as an appellate court recently ruled. Three weeks ago, the US government put the NSO Group on a list of companies subject to trade sanctions for endangering national security.


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