Apple Sues Israel’s NSO Group, Accuses It of Using Pegasus Spyware to Gain Unauthorized Access to iPhones

By Benzinga
November 24, 2021 Updated: November 24, 2021

Apple, Inc has opted to take an antagonistic stance against Israel’s NSO Group, the maker of the Pegasus spyware.

What Happened

Apple said it has filed a lawsuit against the NSO Group and its parent for holding them accountable for the surveillance and targeting of Apple users. Cupertino went a step further and has sought a permanent injunction to ban NSO from using any of its software, services or devices.

In the complaint, Apple provided new information on how NSO’s security exploit “FORCEDENTRY” was allegedly used to break into a victim’s Apple device.

To deliver “FORCEDENTRY” to Apple devices, attackers created Apple IDs to send malicious data to a victim’s device, allowing NSO or its clients to deliver and install Pegasus without the knowledge of the victim, Apple said.

Apple servers were not hacked or compromised in the attacks, it added.

The exploit has since been patched.

“Apple devices are the most secure consumer hardware on the market—but private companies developing state-sponsored spyware have become even more dangerous,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.

What’s Next

Cupertino said it will contribute $10 million, as well as any damages from the lawsuit, to organizations pursuing cybersurveillance research and advocacy. “FORCEDENTRY” was originally identified by the Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto.

Apple said it is notifying the small number of users that it discovered may have been targeted by “FORCEDENTRY.”

The company noted that it has not observed any evidence of successful remote attacks against devices running iOS 15 and later versions. It, therefore, urged all users to update their iPhone and always use the latest software.

Apple shares closed 0.24 percent higher at $161.41.

By Shanthi Rexaline

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