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Apple Sues Firm That Creates Spyware To Hack iPhones For Governments
By Ell Ko, 24 Nov 2021
Image via VILTVART / Shutterstock.com
In September, it was reported that iPhones had been targeted by a spyware called Pegasus, created in order to survey and monitor targeted people, such as journalists, and leave their information including messages vulnerable for the creators to read.
Now, a few months later, Apple has taken NSO Group, the firm that created the spyware, to court. CNBC reports that the tech company is seeking a permanent injunction to ban the group from using Apple software, services, and devices, as well as damages upwards of US$75,000.
Ivan Krstić, head of security engineering at Apple, stated that this move also served as a way to “send a clear message” to other potential spyware companies, reiterating that weaponizing “powerful state-sponsored spyware against innocent users” is “unacceptable.”
The Pegasus spyware was discovered by the Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto. Amnesty International uncovered the malware on the iPhones belonging to a number of journalists and human rights lawyers earlier this year.
“While these cybersecurity threats only impact a very small number of our customers, we take any attack on our users very seriously,” shares Crag Federighi, Apple’s senior VP of software engineering, in a statement. “We’re constantly working to strengthen the security and privacy protections in iOS to keep all our users safe.”
Apple has also patched the flaws that enabled the software to access data on iPhones using “zero-click” attacks, where the malware is injected into the phone even without the user clicking a link.
The firm has also stated that it will be donating US$10 million, including the damages from this lawsuit, to organizations fighting digital surveillance.
More information on the Apple complaint against NSO Group can be found here.
[via CNBC, cover image via VILTVART / Shutterstock.com]
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