Apple has sued NSO Group, as well as its parent company, in an attempt to hold it responsible for the Pegasus spyware incident.
NSO Group made headlines when The Washington Post exposed the fact its Pegasus software was being used by regimes to target journalists and human rights activists. The company claims it only sells its software for legitimate law enforcement and anti-terrorism uses, but the Post’s exposé showed there was far more to it.
Apple is now adding to NSO Group’s woes, suing the company for endangering iPhone users.
“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. While these cybersecurity threats only impact a very small number of our customers, we take any attack on our users very seriously, and we’re constantly working to strengthen the security and privacy protections in iOS to keep all our users safe.”
Apple is also donating $10 million, along with any damages from the lawsuit, to further cybersecurity research, a move applauded by privacy proponents.
“Mercenary spyware firms like NSO Group have facilitated some of the world’s worst human rights abuses and acts of transnational repression, while enriching themselves and their investors,” said Ron Deibert, director of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto. “I applaud Apple for holding them accountable for their abuses, and hope in doing so Apple will help to bring justice to all who have been victimized by NSO Group’s reckless behavior.”