Apple's Pegasus lawsuit a 'declaration of war' against offensive software developers, says Kaspersky director

Regional exec says Apple wants offensive researchers out of the field because they are harmful to the reputation of the company


Kaspersky's APAC director of Global Research and Analysis, Vitaly Kamlyuk, has called Apple's lawsuit against Pegasus maker NSO a "declaration of war against software developers."

On Tuesday, Apple filed suit against the cyber firm and its parent company for surveillance and targeting of US Apple users. Apple wants to prevent NSO Group from using any Apple software, services or devices in the future, and would like some damages to boot.

Pegasus spyware is repeatedly used by authoritarian regimes to infiltrate phones of journalists, dissidents, and academics, and Apple's argument is that the software "weaponizes powerful state-sponsored spyware against those who seek to make the world a better place."

Kamlyuk made the comments while speaking at Kaspersky's webcast, Reinforcing Cybersecurity Strategy: The Way Forward, on Wednesday.

He later clarified directly to The Register that he was referring to offensive software developers. Kamluck told El Reg:

In my opinion, Apple wants offensive researchers out of the field, because they are harmful to the reputation of the company. The US govt cares more about controlled use and non-proliferation of offensive technology but seems to support the same side. WhatsApp previously, now Apple and the US govt. This seems to become a trend to put offensive research in order.

It's not just Apple looking to put Pegasus and NSO in its place. The malware company has already been sued by Facebook for exploiting WhatsApp to infiltrate its victims. Furthermore, a US appeals court ruled earlier this month that the Israel-based firm cannot hide behind its government clients when it comes to litigation.

If Apple wins, it says it plans to donate the money to non-profits that investigate spyware like Citizen Lab and Amnesty Tech. Apple plans to kick in an extra $10m to assist efforts in the field. ®

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