Apple reportedly informed some employees of the U.S State Department that their iPhones might be hacked by spyware developed by Israel-based NSO Group. It is presumed that at least nine iPhones of the government employees are compromised as reported by Reuters.
This hack happened to the officials posted in Uganda or directly associated with that country. This is reportedly the widest ever known hack that happened to U.S officials. Earlier there were reports of American officials being targetted by the group, but they couldn’t be confirmed.
The NSO Group also stated on that:
“If our investigation shall show these actions indeed happened with NSO’s tools, such customer will be terminated permanently and legal actions will take place,” said an NSO spokesperson, who added that NSO will also “cooperate with any relevant government authority and present the full information we will have.”
The NSO Group is also known for its proprietary spyware Pegasus, which is capable of remote zero-click surveillance of smartphones. It was used to exploit the vulnerabilities of smartphones operating on Android and iOS.
Last month, Apple sued NSO Group to curb the abuse of state-sponsored spyware. The company also announced a $10 million contribution to support cyber-surveillance researchers and advocates.