Another front for NSO: Apple sues Israeli offensive cyber company

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Technology giant Apple today (Tuesday) filed a lawsuit against offensive cyber company NSO and its parent company Q CYBER. The lawsuit was filed in San Jose, California. Apple requires a permanent restraining order prohibiting NSO from using Apple’s software, services and devices. In doing so, Apple joins Facebook, which is already pursuing a US lawsuit against NSO.

In a statement issued by Apple, it defines NSO as a “state-sponsored surveillance technology company”. “State-backed players like NSO spend millions of dollars on surveillance technologies without accountability. It has to end,” writes Craig Federinge, vice president of software engineering at Apple. “Apple devices have the most secure hardware on the market – but private companies that develop state-supported spyware have become more dangerous. Although these cyber threats affect a small number of our customers, we take any attack on our users seriously.”

Apple claims in the lawsuit that it repaired the FORCEDENTRY vulnerability that allowed the infiltration of NSO’s Pegasus spyware into iPhones and informed several customers that it had discovered that such an attack might have been launched against them. According to Apple, after the spyware infiltrated, NSO customers, all governments, were able to infiltrate the camera, microphone and other sensitive information of the devices. In addition to a permanent restraining order, Apple is seeking compensation for violations of U.S. laws by the NSO.

As part of the fight against NSO and companies like it, Apple has announced that it will donate $ 10 million, in addition to the compensation that will be obtained from the lawsuit, to research and defense organizations against these technologies. Apple praises the activities of two such organizations, Citizen Love and Amnesty Tech, which have published comprehensive investigations against NSO.

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Apple’s move is another threat to NSO

Apple’s lawsuit joins a number of significant threats to NSO’s continuation. The most significant threat is the United States Chamber of Commerce’s announcement last month to add NSO to the list of companies operating in violation of US national security and overseas interests. Following this announcement, Itzik Benvenisti, former CEO of Partner, withdrew from NSO. Benvenisti was slated to take over as NSO CEO in place of his founder Julio. Julio will now continue as CEO and will try to remove NSO from the list.

Benvenisti intended to promote change in the NSO as part of which the company would expand into new and less controversial areas, such as the development of defensive cyber technology and turning to civilian worlds. However, he realized that it would be difficult to do so in light of the inclusion on the American blacklist.

The crisis at NSO began following an extensive international investigation led by Amnesty and Forbidden Stories. According to an investigation released in July, NSO’s Pegasus spyware has been used by governments to spy on journalists, human rights activists and politicians around the world.

It was announced today that the international credit rating company Moody’s announced NSO’s two-point credit rating to Caa2 and warned of the cumulative risk that the company breached its $ 500 million debt repayment terms, following exceptional cash flow difficulties. Estimates published in the international media are that against the background of the investigation against her, NSO suffered a significant loss of customers. For example, Reuters estimated the loss of the company’s contracts following the investigation at about $ 300 million a year.

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