Posted on December 1, 2021 at 6:13 PM
Apple Files Game-Changing Lawsuit Against Israeli NSO Group
Apple has announced that it will send notifications to iPhone users whose devices were compromised or hacked by state-sponsored attacks.
The tech giant added that it will send an iMessage and an email to the address of the iPhone user that has been targeted by state-sponsored threat actors. Also, the user will see a threat notification left by the company when they sign in to their Apple ID.
According to Apple, the users are individually targeted based on what they do and who they are. These state-sponsored actors use highly-sophisticated techniques, unlike traditional cybercriminals. They make use of other resources to target a very small number of specific individuals with iPhone devices this makes it quite challenging for the company personnel and security professionals to prevent or detect further incursion.
“State-sponsored attacks are highly complex, cost millions of dollars to develop, and often have a short shelf life,” Apple noted.
These types of attacks do not target generically because they look for specific types of users with particular resources to make their attack more potent, Apple reiterated.
The tech giant said that Pegasus hacking has impacted members of legitimate political parties, students, journalists, and other members of civil society all over the world.
In 2017, several news organizations reported about the activities of the Pegasus spyware when it was used to target some influential individuals. In some instances, the malware is used by other threat groups targeting organizations via access to their major employees.
Apple takes action against Israeli NSO Group
Apple has filed a case against the NSO Group for violating U.S. laws after selling spyware that the threat actors used to hack iPhones.
However, the company has tried to save face by maintaining that they intended to use the spyware to fight crime and terrorism and I had no intention to use it otherwise.
NSO claimed that thousands of lives have been saved around the world due to the technologies used by its customers.
The group also stated that they are “advocates for the truth” and offers governments the lawful tools they need to combat crimes in cyberspace,
Despite NSO’s various claims of no wrongdoings, the US Department of Commerce added them to its list of malicious cyber activities. According to the department, the group has been accused of engaging in activities that go against the national security or foreign policy interest of the United States.
The NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware has been in the news for the past year due to the allegations that the spyware was used to target civilians, journalists, and human rights workers.
The group says it only sells its spyware to governments and has no hand in the use of the spyware to target individuals.
Although Apple is the only company to officially file a lawsuit against the group, other companies may follow suit. Firms like Microsoft and Facebook have already criticized the NSO group for infringing on the privacy of its users.
Apple has also accused the group of creating more than 100 Apple ID user credentials to carry out attacks on users.
NSO Group accused of weaponizing state-sponsored malware
President Joe Bidden’s administration has been making efforts to put human rights issues at the center of US foreign policy. The main interest is the elimination of digital tools that leads to abuse and translational repression.
Apple has since stepped up its security measures to prevent any future infringement of its users’ rights by the NSO Group. The lawsuit addressed the group’s flagrant violation of the US federal and state laws by targeting and attacking Apple and its users.
Ivan Krstić, head of apple security engineering and architecture, commented on the development. “We are always working to defend our users against even the most complex cyberattacks,” he noted.
Ivan added that the firm decided to take such a step to send a clear message to the NSO group and others who may want to violate the rights of its users in the future. He stated that it’s highly unacceptable to weaponize powerful state-backed malware and use it to target individuals.
In a recent statement, Apple stated that mercenary spyware firms like NSA Group have enabled some of the worst human rights abuses in the world while enriching themselves and their investors.
Apple’s move has been well-received globally, as top stakeholders in the industry condemned the actions of NSO. With the high level of criticism currently going on against the group, other firms may decide to file an additional lawsuit if they find out that the malware infiltrated the rights of their users.