Apple has sued NSO Group and its parent company Q Cyber Technologies in a U.S. federal court for illegally targeting its customers with the surveillance spyware Pegasus.
According to the lawsuit, NSO Group is accountable for hacking into Apple’s iOS-based devices using zero-click exploits. The complaint provides new information on how NSO Group infected victims’ devices with its Pegasus spyware.
The software developed by the surveillance firm was used to spy on activists, journalists, researchers, and government officials. To prevent further abuse and harm to its users, Apple also aims at permanently preventing NSO Group from using any Apple software, services, or devices.
The tech giant has plans to notify and assist users of state-sponsored attacks. They will display a “Threat Notification” in case the users will be targeted by nation-state actors, the messages will be displayed when the users sign into appleid.apple[.]com, the company will also send an email and iMessage notification to the email addresses and phone numbers associated with the users’ Apple IDs.
Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering stated that 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 customers, they take any attack on the users very seriously, and are constantly working to strengthen the security and privacy protections in iOS to keep all users safe.
Apple also said it’s notifying all the users it discovered to have been targeted by attackers using the FORCEDENTRY exploit.
Apple also announced it would support with a contribution of $10 million to the academic research in unmasking the illegal surveillance activities.