Pegasus is a spyware developed by the Israeli cyberweapons company NSO Group that can be installed discreetly on phones with most versions of iOS and Android.
Apple has filed a lawsuit against the NSO Group and its parent company Osy Technologies for suspected monitoring and targeting US apple users with PEGASUS spyware.
According to Reuters Apple also seeks to ban the NSO group on the use of Apple software, services, or devices to prevent additional abuse.
Apple is also claiming that government agencies in Ghana have targeted iPhones from the opposition. Specifically mentioned Stan Xo Dogbe, an adviser to former President John Dramani Mahama.
Apple is the latest in a line of companies and governments to target NSO, the maker of hacking tool Pegasus, which the surveillance group said targeted human rights workers and journalists.
Earlier this month, US officials blacklisted the company. NSO has also faced complaints or criticism from Microsoft, Meta Platforms, Alphabet, and Cisco Systems.
NSO is said to be involved in bypassing the security of these companies’ products and selling these bypasses in the form of hacking tools to foreign governments.
NSO said in a statement, that it sells its tools only to the governments and bodies responsible for law enforcement and has guaranteed in place to avoid any misuse, said “thousands of lives”. been saved thanks to the use of its tools.
a spokesman said in a statement that “Paedophiles and terrorists can freely operate in technological safe-havens, and we provide governments the lawful tools to fight them. NSO Group will continue to advocate for the truth,”
In a lawsuit filed in US District Court for the Northern District of California, Apple said NSO tools were used in a “joint action to attack and attack Apple customers” in 2021 and that “US citizens of NSO-Spyware on mobile devices were monitored”. across international borders.”
Creating Fake IDs
Apple claims that the NSO Group created more than 100 fake user IDs on Apple IDs to carry out their attacks. Apple said its servers were not hacked, but NSO abused and damaged the servers to launch attacks against Apple users.
Apple also claims that the NSO Group was directly involved in providing consulting services for the attack, which is noteworthy because NSO claims to sell its tools to customers.
Apple said, “Defendants are forcing Apple into an ongoing arms race: While Apple is developing solutions and improving the security of its devices, defendants are constantly updating their malware and exploits to address Apple’s own security enhancements,”.
so far apple has seen no evidence of the NSO tool being used against Apple devices running iOS 15, the latest version of its mobile operating system.
Apple said it would donate $10 million-plus damages in the case to a team of cyber-surveillance researchers, including Citizen Lab, the University of Toronto group that first discovered the NSO attack.
Pegasus has been used to hack some Ghanaians
In Ghana, several former government officials are currently jailed for spending millions of dollars buying Pegasus spyware from NSO several years ago.
However, there are suspicions that while the deal fell through due to the corruption of these government officials, NSO may have tested its spyware on some Ghanaians at the time to convince the government of its effectiveness.
It is believed that the main reason these officers were arrested was that they tried spyware on some of the then opposition leaders and their aides, who are now civil servants.
Several prominent journalists at the time also had reason to believe their phones had been tapped, but there is no evidence of this. But Apple’s new claims that former presidential employees and advisers to the former president are being spied on could provide evidence that spyware was indeed being used against targeted individuals in Ghana.