Apple sues Israeli group NSO following Pegasus scandal

Apple announced this Tuesday that it has filed a complaint against the NSO Group, the Israeli company that makes the Pegasus spy software.

The US technology group wants the court to definitively prevent the NSO from installing its programs on the devices and services it makes available.

The NSO was exposed this summer after an investigation, carried out by a consortium of 17 media from several countries, revealed that Pegasus allowed the spying of journalists, politicians, activists and businessmen from different countries, including French President Emmanuel Macron.

“In the electronics market for the general public, Apple devices are the safest, but companies that develop computer programs for spying on behalf of the States have become more dangerous”, declared the vice president of the Californian group with the responsible for computer programs, Craig Federighi, cited in a statement.

“Even though these computer security threats only affect a small number of our customers, we take all attacks against our users seriously,” he added.

In September, Apple urgently had to repair a computer flaw that Pegasus was able to exploit to infect iPhones, without requiring users to click on trapped links or buttons, which is the usual technique.

According to the Citizen Lab investigators, who fixed the problem, the spy computer program had been taking advantage of that flaw since, at least, February 2021.

This computer security organization at the University of Toronto had discovered that a Saudi militant’s iPhone had been infected through iMessage, Apple’s messaging service.

In early November, Washington added the NSO Group to its ‘blacklist’ of companies.

“The US is determined to aggressively use export controls to hold companies that develop, market or use technologies for malicious purposes that threaten the computer security of members of civil society or government, dissidents and organizations based on the foreign,” said the secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo.

The Israeli group said it was “dismayed” by this decision, which it wanted to see postponed, according to a spokesperson for the Tel Aviv-based company, adding that the NSO has a “strict ethical charter based on (US) values. .

But Craig Federighi said, “State-funded groups like the NSO Group spend millions of dollars to devise sophisticated surveillance technologies without having to account for the consequences. That must change.”

The NSO group did not respond to a request for a reaction made by the AFP.

Leave a Reply