Tech giant Apple has filed a lawsuit against the Israel-based company NSO Group, the developer of infamous Pegasus spyware, seeking a permanent injunction to ban NSO Group from using any Apple software, services, or devices.
The company admitted that a small number of its users might have been targeted by an NSO Group’s exploit to install Pegasus on Apple devices.
“State-sponsored actors like the NSO Group spend millions of dollars on sophisticated surveillance technologies without effective accountability. That needs to change,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.
“Apple devices are the most secure consumer hardware on the market — but private companies developing state-sponsored spyware have become even more dangerous,” he said in a statement late on Tuesday.
Apple’s complaint provides new information on NSO Group’s ‘FORCEDENTRY’, an exploit for a now-patched vulnerability previously used to break into a victim’s Apple device and install the latest version of NSO Group’s spyware product, Pegasus.
The Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto, originally identified the exploit.
“The spyware was used to attack a small number of Apple users worldwide with dangerous malware and spyware,” the company informed.
Apple said it is notifying the small number of users that it discovered may have been targeted by ‘FORCEDENTRY’.
Apple follows WhatsApp and its parent company Meta (formerly Facebook) in suing Pegasus spyware maker NSO Group.
The Apple lawsuit also seeks redress for NSO Group’s flagrant violations of the US federal and state law, arising out of its efforts to target and attack Apple and its users.
To further strengthen efforts against cyber attacks, Apple said it will be contributing $10 million and any damages from the lawsuit to organisations pursuing cyber-surveillance research and advocacy.