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Apple on Tuesday announced that it has filed a lawsuit against NSO Group, which is known for developing the advanced spyware “Pegasus” to attack and surveil users of iOS and Android devices. The company claims that it is suing the creators of the spyware to “prevent further abuse and harm to its users.”
Pegasus was developed with governments and law enforcement agencies in mind since the NSO Group does not sell the spyware to regular users. Still, most of the countries that have purchased Pegasus are known to violate human rights, which puts people like journalists and political opponents in danger.
Apple’s vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi reinforces that iOS devices are extremely secure, but he acknowledges that companies like NSO Group spend millions of dollars on sophisticated tools to crack Apple’s security system. Now the company expects to put an end to this with a lawsuit.
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 our customers, we take any attack on our users very seriously, and we’re constantly working to strengthen the security and privacy protections in iOS to keep all our users safe.
As highlighted by Apple, the Pegasus spyware is capable of allowing hackers to access the microphone, camera, and other sensitive data on Apple and Android devices. Attackers use fake Apple IDs to send malicious data to a victim’s device so that they can install Pegasus spyware without the user’s knowledge.
The Cupertino-based company reinforces that the spyware only collects data from the users’ devices and that no Apple servers have been compromised. Apple also emphasizes multiple security improvements made with iOS 15, which includes the BlastDoor mechanism to protect users’ messages.
While NSO Group spyware continues to evolve, Apple has not observed any evidence of successful remote attacks against devices running iOS 15 and later versions. Apple urges all users to update their iPhone and always use the latest software.
In addition to the lawsuit, Apple also announced a $10 million contribution to organizations working on behalf of cybersecurity. More details can be found on Apple’s website.