Apple sues NSO Group

iPhone maker says it wants to block Israeli company from accessing products

Young customers look at iPhones at an Apple Store at The Grove in Los Angeles. AP

Tech company Apple announced on Tuesday it is suing Israel’s NSO Group.

Apple said in a complaint filed in a federal court in California that the company had "created highly sophisticated cyber-surveillance machinery," called Pegasus, that had been used to attack a small number of Apple customers.

NSO Group has broadly denied wrongdoing and said its products have been used by governments to prevent terrorism and crime. The company did not immediately return Reuters' request for comment on Tuesday.

The administration of US President Joe Biden announced this month that NSO Group and another Israeli cybersecurity firm called Candiru were being added to the “entity list”, which limits their access to US components and technology by requiring government permission for exports.

Facebook has sued NSO Group over allegations its was deployed via the popular encrypted WhatsApp messaging app. A US federal appeals court issued a ruling this month rejecting an effort by NSO Group to have the lawsuit thrown out.

Apple also announced on Tuesday that it was donating $10 million, as well as any damages won in the NSO Group lawsuit, to cyber-surveillance researchers and advocates.

Updated: November 24, 2021, 3:34 AM