NSO Group Pegasus vs Apple the latest news of the controversy

Security investigators say the iPhone of a Jordanian journalist and human rights defender was breached with Pegasus spyware a few weeks after Apple sued spyware maker NSO Group to prevent it from targeting its customers.

The phone of award-winning journalist Suhair Jaradat was broken with Pegasus spyware on December 5, 2021, according to an analysis of her phone by Front Line Defenders and Citizen as posted by TechCrunch.

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Jaradat received a WhatsApp message from someone allegedly an anti-government critic. The message contained links to Pegasus malware. According to the analysis, Jaradat's iPhone was continuously violated until February 2021.

Apple had filed a lawsuit against the Israeli manufacturer NSO Group spy software in November 2021, seeking a court order banning NSO from using its services and products to develop hacks against its customers.

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The order, if issued, would make it very difficult for NSO to continue developing Pegasus software, as most of its capabilities are based on abusing Apple services such as iMessage, and creating Apple user accounts to deliver malware.

However, so far the case is proceeding very slowly, after the first judge of the case resigned.

Pegasus spyware developed by NSO gives the company's government customers almost complete access to a target device, personal data, photos, messages and their exact location.

Many victims have received text messages with malicious links, but Pegasus software recently began hacking the iPhone without the need for any user interaction, using so-called "zero-click" attacks.

Apple last year boosted iPhone security with BlastDoor, a new invisible security feature designed to filter out malicious uploads sent via iMessage. However, the NSO has already bypassed the new security measure with an exploit, which researchers named ForcedEntry for its ability to break BlastDoor protections. Apple fixed BlastDoor in September after it was found that NSO exploit affects devices with iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and not just iPhone.

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