Apple Sues Israeli Spyware Maker, Seeking To Block Its Access To iPhones

Apple sued the NSO Group, the Israeli surveillance company, in federal court on Tuesday, another setback for the beleaguered firm and the unregulated spyware industry. From a report: The lawsuit is the second of its kind -- Facebook sued the NSO Group in 2019 for targeting its WhatsApp users -- and represents another consequential move by a private company to curb invasive spyware by governments and the companies that provide their spy tools. Apple, for the first time, seeks to hold NSO accountable for what it says was the surveillance and targeting of Apple users. Apple also wants to permanently prevent NSO from using any Apple software, services or devices, a move that could render the company's Pegasus spyware product worthless, given that its core business is to give NSO's government clients full access to a target's iPhone or Android smartphone. Apple is also asking for unspecified damages for the time and cost to deal with what the company argues is NSO's abuse of its products. Apple said it would donate the proceeds from those damages to organizations that expose spyware. Since NSO's founding in 2010, its executives have said that they sell spyware to governments only for lawful interception, but a series of revelations by journalists and private researchers have shown the extent to which governments have deployed NSO's Pegasus spyware against journalists, activists and dissidents. Apple executives described the lawsuit as a warning shot to NSO and other spyware makers. "This is Apple saying: If you do this, if you weaponize our software against innocent users, researchers, dissidents, activists or journalists, Apple will give you no quarter," Ivan Krstic, head of Apple security engineering and architecture, said in an interview on Monday.

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