You might recall the Pegasus spyware scandals that emerged a few years back.
Spyware used by central governments around the world to spy on their citizens via their smartphones, Pegasus called into question what privacy means in the digital age then and it looks like the debate is reemerging now as Apple files a lawsuit against NSO Group on behalf of users targeted and exploited with the software. This spyware not only gave bad actors access to sensitive data on the iPhone but also things such as pictures and video, digital property that we tend to take seriously regardless of privacy issues involved.
Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi wrote in a blog post discussing the legal move:
“State-sponsored actors like the NSO Group spend millions of dollars on sophisticated surveillance technologies without effective accountability. That needs to change. Apple devices are the most secure consumer hardware on the market — but private companies developing state-sponsored spyware have become even more dangerous. While these cybersecurity threats only impact a very small number of our customers, we take any attack on our users very seriously, and we’re constantly working to strengthen the security and privacy protections in iOS to keep all our users safe.”
For their part, Apple points to continually improving iOS as the first way to combat infiltrations into user smartphones and notes in their blog post that Apple “has not observed” a third-party invasion of an iPhone running iOS 15.
Apple also credited the work of third-party organizations such as Citizen Lab and Amnesty Tech for their work in defending user privacy, an issue that Cupertino claims is one of their core focuses as a company.
Whatever happens in court between NSO and Apple, protecting smartphone users from spyware and other nefarious mechanisms is definitely an endless, normally thankless task. Best of luck to the people out there trying to put a stop to it.
What do you think of Apple’s move to sue the creators of the Pegasus spyware software used by so many governments to infiltrate the smartphones of citizens? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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