THE U.S. INSTALLED PEGASUS SPYWARE TO SPY ON DIPLOMATS' PHONES. U.S. installed Pegasus spyware to spy on diplomats' phones

Christian Carlos

NSO Technologies, better known as NSO Group is responsible for developing the malicious software known as Pegasus which, according to Israeli policies, is considered a weapon in Israel and which, by using brute force, Pegasus installs itself on a vulnerable iPhone to breach the device's security and read private content remotely without the iPhone user's authorization.

Pegasus, The Washington Post reported, was installed on the devices of 11 U.S. diplomats in Uganda and parts of East Africa.

For its part, NSO Group, which owns the malicious spyware, stated, "We have previously committed that once there is a suspicion that a customer is misusing technology sold by NSO, the company will investigate and terminate the contract if it is determined to be true," in this case, the U.S. government.

For its part, in the press release, Apple notes that they make "the most secure mobile devices on the market and constantly invests in strengthening privacy and security protections for its users."

Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering stated that, at Apple, "we take any attacks on our users very seriously, and we are constantly working to strengthen the security and privacy protections in iOS to keep all of our users safe."

Recently, Apple sued NSO Group for breaching users' security and is being asked to be found liable for all damages that may have been suffered by those spied on. According to the press release issued by Apple on November 23, 2021, "NSO Group creates sophisticated state-sponsored surveillance technology that allows its highly targeted spyware to surveil its victims. These attacks only target a very small number of users, and affect people on multiple platforms, including iOS and Android. Researchers and journalists have publicly documented a history of abuse of this spyware to target journalists, activists, dissidents, academics, and public officials."

As such, Apple asked users, as usual, to keep the phone with automatic updates turned on, since, it said, no evidence of attacks has been found in iOS 15 and later versions.

The lawsuit, Apple explains, seeks "redress for NSO Group's egregious violations of U.S. federal and state law arising from its efforts to attack Apple and its users.

To bolster efforts like these, "Apple will contribute $10 million, as well as damages resulting from the lawsuit, to organizations dedicated to cyber-surveillance research and advocacy."

Now, whenever Apple discovers activity consistent with a state-sponsored spyware attack, Apple will send one to affected users in accordance with industry best practices.


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