Apple is enough and takes legal action against the NSO-Group, which the iPhone company calls “amoral mercenaries of the 21st century”. With the move, Apple hopes to send a signal to its competitors.

Apple is taking legal action against the Israeli company behind the Pegasus spy software. As a spokesman told the New York Times, this step should also serve as a signal for other companies. So Apple is trying to find comrades-in-arms in the judicial campaign. The iPhone group has taken off its kid gloves: In the lawsuit, the NSO group is described as “amoral mercenaries of the 21st century”. It cannot be that state-funded companies invest millions in spy software and surveillance technology without being held accountable to anyone, Apple’s software boss Craig Federeghi is quoted as saying.

The US group wants to go to court, that the NSO Group the use of any devices and software from Apple is prohibited. In the lawsuit published on Tuesday, an unspecified “reparation” is also required for spying on users because this violated US law. NSO has been heavily criticized for months.

What is the NSO-Group: The NSO-Group has always acted as a company that can use its software to research serious criminals, terrorists and pedophiles. But as it turned out in mid-July, that was only half the story: As an international journalist consortium – including the Washington Post, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Die Zeit – discovered, people who were critical of the regime also became people critical of the regime with Pegasus and spied on activists as well as opposition figures and reporters. Traces of attacks were discovered on dozens of smartphones belonging to journalists, human rights activists, their family members and business people. NSO countered that Pegasus was “only sold to law enforcement and intelligence agencies by audited governments for the sole purpose of saving lives by preventing crime and acts of terrorism.”

But the explanations are not enough for many. At the beginning of November, the US government put NSO on its sanctions list. There is evidence that spy software was delivered to governments that they used to maliciously monitor government officials, journalists and scientists, among others.

Apple stressed that NSO had exploited a now closed software vulnerability to attack “a small number” of users of the group’s devices. “The NSO Group and its customers use the immense resources and potential of nation states to carry out cyberattacks in a very targeted manner, giving them access to the microphone, the camera and other sensitive data Apple– and enable Android devices, “it said.

WhatsApp has been suing NSO for years. The chat service belonging to the Facebook group Meta accuses the company of having illegally exploited its systems to monitor users.


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