Israeli NSO Spyware Hacks US State Department Personnel
After the United States included NSO Group on its restricted companies list, the Israeli spyware developer's products were used to spy on US government officials and employees.
iOS devices of almost 10 US State Department employees were subjected to an attack by spyware developed by the Israeli NSO Group. Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters the assailant was unknown.
The sources told the agency the hacks took place over the last several months, and their targets were either based in Uganda or focused on matters concerning Kampala.
This constitutes the widest known hack of US officials through "Israel's" NSO Group.
The Group claimed it had no indication their tools were used; however, it also claimed it would cancel accounts involved and start an investigation into the matter based on Reuters' inquiry.
An NSO spokesperson backed their claimed investigation by saying if it shows these actions "indeed happened with NSO's tools, such customers will be terminated permanently and legal actions will take place."
NSO Group had been under fire after an investigation led by The Washington Post and 16 media partners found that military-grade spyware leased by the Israeli firm NSO Group to governments was used in attempted and successful hacks of 37 smartphones belonging to journalists, human rights activists, business executives, and the two women closest to the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Apple sued spyware maker NSO on Tuesday for targeting the users of its devices, saying the Israeli firm, at the center of the Pegasus surveillance scandal, needs to be held to account.
In a statement, Apple said it was "seeking a permanent injunction to ban NSO Group from using any Apple software, services, or devices" to prevent "further abuse and harm to its users."
The Israeli NSO and its spyware that has the ability to turn on a device's microphone and camera and collect data from it have been making headlines since 2016 after accusations of spying on a UAE activist.
In early November, the United States placed "Israel's" spyware maker NSO Group, the corporation behind the notorious Pegasus, on its list of restricted companies.
NSO still claims it was not directly involved in surveillance, alleging that its products were to help government law enforcement and intelligence clients to monitor security threats.