Apple announced that it is suing the NSO Group and its parent company to hold them accountable for targeting and using surveillance of Apple users. The NSO group is responsible for creating state-sponsored surveillance technology that has been used against a small number of Apple users, such as journalists, activists, dissidents, academics, and government officials.
In the legal action, Apple says it is committed to preventing further harm to its users by obtaining a permanent injunction prohibiting NSO Group from using Apple software, services, or devices. Apple’s complaint also brings more information into the public domain, such as the FORCEDENTRY exploit.
Explaining the FORCEDENTRY exploit, Apple said:
“To deliver FORCEDENTRY to Apple devices, the attackers created an Apple ID to send malicious data to the victim’s device, which allowed the NSO Group or its customers to deliver and install Pegasus spyware without the victim’s knowledge. compromised in attacks. “
Commenting on the case, Apple’s senior vice president of software development Craig Federighi said:
“Government-backed actors like the NSO Group spend millions of dollars on sophisticated surveillance technology without effective accountability. This needs to be changed. Apple devices are the safest consumer hardware on the market, but private companies that develop government-sponsored spyware have become even more dangerous. Although these cybersecurity threats affect only a very small number of our customers, we take any attack against our users very seriously and are constantly working to strengthen the security and privacy protection in iOS to ensure the safety of all our users. ”
In the announcement, Apple also thanked groups including Citizen Lab and Amnesty Tech for helping to identify cyberspace abuses and said it will contribute $ 10 million, plus any damages from the case, to help bolster these efforts. Specifically for Citizen Lab, Apple will provide technical, analytical and engineering assistance at no cost to aid their research.
Although Apple devices are known for being highly secure due to being locked, Apple still encourages all users to run the latest software on their iPhones. For example, in iOS 15, Apple updated the BlastDoor security mechanism to help fend off attacks from the likes of the NSO Group. Apple said it is now contacting people affected by the FORCEDENTRY exploit so that they can take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their information.