New Delhi: Days after suing Israeli spyware maker NSO Group for targeting iPhone users, Apple has informed iPhone devices of at least nine US State Department officials were hacked by a sophisticated hacking tool made by the NSO Group, the media reported late on Friday.
The iPhones of the staffers of the US State Department were targeted for the past several months were either based in Uganda or were working on matters related to the East African country, news agency Reuters reported quoting sources.
This is the widest known hack of US officials via hacking tools made by the NSO Group.
Late last month, Apple had sued the Israeli spyware maker and its parent company, intending to block it from using any of its technology and to stop any further harm to iPhone users globally. This development came weeks after the revelation that the NSO Group was spying on heads of the states, activists, politicians and journalists in many countries, including India.
“State-sponsored actors like the NSO Group spend millions of dollars on sophisticated surveillance technologies without effective accountability. That needs to change,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, had said in a statement.
Earlier in November, the United States (US) authorities had blacklisted Israeli company NSO over allegations that the company ‘enabled foreign governments to conduct transnational repression’, a report by news agency AFP said. NSO has also been put on a trade blacklist by the US. The move was made after the department ruled that NSO Group engaged ‘in activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the US’.