Earlier this week, Apple filed a lawsuit against the NSO Group, which is the developer behind the Pegasus software. The software has been facing heat from various tech companies and human rights groups regarding the misuse of their spyware. Apple has now started to send notifications to Apple users who were victims of the software. The company has began sending the alerts to users in Thailand, El Salvador and Uganda. Also Read - Apple AR headset to launch in late 2022 with mac-level computing power: Kuo
According to a report by TechCrunch, around six Thai activists who were victims of the spyware have already received the notification. Some users in El Salvador have also reportedly received the notifications. Also Read - Xiaomi India could soon start a repair program similar to Apple's Self Service Repair program
Norbert Mao, the president of the Democratic Party in Uganda, highlighted one such notification. In a tweet he said, “When you wake up to a threat notification from @Apple that your iPhone is being targeted then you know that cyber terrorism from state sponsored cyber terrorists is real.” Also Read - Apple to use in-house 5G modem manufactured by TSMC in 2023 iPhone series: Report
The alert said that “you are being targeted by state-sponsored attackers who are trying to remotely compromise the iPhone associated with your Apple ID”.
“These attackers are likely targeting you individually because of who you are or what you do. If your device is compromised by a state-sponsored attacker, they may be able to remotely access your sensitive data, communications, or even the camera and microphone. While it’s possible this is a false alarm, please take this warning seriously,” the Apple alert read.
Apple filed a lawsuit against the NSO Group seeking a permanent injunction to ban the Israeli company from using any Apple software, services or devices.
Apple’s legal complaint provides new information on NSO Group’s FORCEDENTRY, an exploit for a now-patched vulnerability previously used to break into a victim’s Apple device and install the latest version of NSO Group’s spyware product, Pegasus. The exploit was originally identified by the Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto.
Apple believes that the spyware was used to attack a small number of Apple users worldwide with malware and spyware. Apple’s lawsuit seeks to ban NSO Group from further harming individuals by using Apple’s products and services. The lawsuit also seeks redress for NSO Group’s violations of US federal and state law, arising out of its efforts to target and attack Apple and its users.
NSO Group is also facing either legal action or criticism from Microsoft Corp, Meta Platforms Inc, Alphabet Inc and Cisco Systems Inc.
NSO, in its defense, claims that it sells its tools only to governments and law enforcement agencies and has safeguards in place to prevent misuse. The company claims that “thousands of lives” have been saved through the use of its tools.
“Pedophiles and terrorists can freely operate in technological safe-havens, and we provide governments the lawful tools to fight it. NSO Group will continue to advocate for the truth,” a Reuters report cited the group’s spokesperson.