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Apple files lawsuit against NSO Group, saying U.S. citizens were targets

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Nov 23 (Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) mentioned on Tuesday it has filed a lawsuit against Israeli cyber agency NSO Group and its mother or father firm OSY Technologies for alleged surveillance and focusing on of U.S. Apple customers with its Pegasus spyware and adware.

The iPhone maker mentioned it is usually searching for to ban NSO Group from utilizing any Apple software program, providers or units to forestall additional abuse.

Apple is the most recent in a string of corporations and governments to come back after NSO, the maker of the Pegasus hacking device that watchdog teams say focused human rights employees and journalists. Earlier this month, U.S. officers positioned the corporate on a commerce blacklist. NSO has additionally confronted both authorized motion or criticism from Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), Meta Platforms Inc (FB.O), Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) and Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O).

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NSO is allegedly concerned in circumventing safety for merchandise made by these corporations and promoting that circumvention within the type of hacking instruments to international governments.

NSO didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark however has beforehand mentioned it solely sells its merchandise to legislation enforcement and intelligence businesses and takes steps to curb abuse.

In its grievance filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Apple mentioned NSO’s instruments were utilized in “concerted efforts in 2021 to target and attack Apple customers” and that “U.S. citizens have been surveilled by NSO’s spyware on mobile devices that can and do cross international borders.”

Apple alleged that NSO group created greater than 100 pretend Apple ID consumer credentials to hold out its assaults. Apple mentioned that its servers were not hacked, however that NSO misused and manipulated the servers to ship the assaults on Apple customers.

Apple additionally alleged that NSO Group was instantly concerned in offering consulting providers for the assaults, which is noteworthy as a result of NSO has maintained that it sells its instruments to shoppers.

“Defendants force Apple to engage in a continual arms race: Even as Apple develops solutions and enhances the security of its devices, Defendants are constantly updating their malware and exploits to overcome Apple’s own security upgrades,” Apple mentioned.

Apple mentioned it has to this point seen no proof of NSO’s instruments getting used against Apple units utilizing iOS 15, the most recent model of its cell working system.

The iPhone maker mentioned that it’ll donate $10 million, in addition to any damages recovered within the lawsuit, to cybersurveillance analysis teams together with Citizen Lab, the University of Toronto group that first found NSO’s assaults.

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Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru, Stephen Nellis in San Francisco, Chris Bing in Washington and Steven Scheer in Tel Aviv; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Mark Porter and Cynthia Osterman

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Apple logo is seen on the Apple store at The Marche Saint Germain in Paris, France July 15, 2020.  REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

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