THE suit, which seeks an injunction against NSO to stop it from using any Apple software, service or device, comes after the July publication of The Pegasus Project by The Washington Post and 16 other news organisations that detailed the use of Pegasus in dozens of attacks against journalists, human rights workers and political activists in countries across the world.
The NSO Group has repeatedly denied the conclusions of The Pegasus Project but also has been buffeted by a series of government and other actions fuelled by the consortium’s findings, including a US government decision earlier this month to blacklist the company.
NSO’s “notorious hackers” are “amoral 21st century mercenaries who have created highly sophisticated cyber-surveillance machinery that invites routine and flagrant abuse,” Apple claims in the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in the Northern District of California.
Breaking into a particular device, by contrast, allows police and spies to monitor the activities of individuals it is targeting – even when they use WhatsApp, Signal or other encrypted communications tools. The company has said it licenses Pegasus to dozens of military, intelligence and law enforcement agencies around the world but not before vetting its clients.
“Thousands of lives were saved around the world thanks to NSO Group’s technologies used by its customers,” NSO spokesman Oded Hershkovitz said today.
“Paedophiles and terrorists can freely operate in technological safe-havens, and we provide governments with the lawful tools to fight it. NSO group will continue to advocate for the truth.
The US government action has been seen as a Biden administration rebuke to the Israeli government, which approves all NSO Group exports – essentially dictating which countries can use Pegasus – but failed to prevent the abuses detailed in The Pegasus Project.
The company also faces significant financial peril. The credit rating agency Moody’s downgraded the company on Monday, saying it faced an “increased risk” of default on hundreds of millions of dollars in debt.
In recent months, an internal investigation discovered traces of Pegasus spyware in the phones of five French cabinet ministers. And in the UK, a high court judgment last month confirmed that the phones of Princess Haya, the ex-wife of Dubai’s ruler, as well as those of her legal and security advisers had been targeted with a Pegasus hack.
The White House raised concerns about NSO’s spyware to the Israeli government in July. Beyond the Commerce Department’s blacklist, members of Congress have also pushed for more severe financial sanctions and other measures to combat the spyware’s abuse.
In other news – Actress Simz Ngema pens down appreciation message to herself
Simz Ngema has taken to her social media to pen down appreciation message to herself. The star shared photos of herself revealing that a couple of weeks have been really difficult for her.
Simz said she has finally took some time today to reflect on everything that has happened to her. Learn more