The CEO of NSO Group said Facebook in 2017 offered to acquire their Pegasus spy software to spy on iOS users.
Recall that last year Facebook sued NSO Group for spying on WhatsApp users. The head of the spy software company Shalev Julio claims that two representatives of Facebook in 2017 offered to acquire the rights to use certain features of Pegasus. The court documents say they were not interested in hacking tools to hack smartphones remotely. They were interested in the most effective way of tracking user activity, which was planned to be integrated into the Onavo project.
The Onavo Protect Facebook software has been advertised as a VPN service. It was used to collect information about what applications users are using on their mobile devices.
“Facebook officials said the company is concerned that their Onavo Protect data collection method was less efficient on Apple devices than Android,” the case file said.
A Facebook spokesman said the NSO CEO is misrepresenting conversations between company employees. According to him, Julio Shalev is trying to distract everyone from the main charges.
“Our lawsuit describes NSO’s responsibility for attacks on more than 100 human rights defenders and journalists around the world,” said a Facebook spokesman.
NSO claims they sell Pegasus only to intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies. Last year, Onavo Protect was removed from the App Store. Against the backdrop of these actions, Facebook shifted responsibility to Apple for hacking the smartphone of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Investigations into the case revealed that Bezos’ iPhone was jailbroken after he received a 4.4 MB video file containing malware via WhatsApp. In a similar way, last year, using the NSO Group’s Pegasus program, 1,400 people, including journalists and human rights activists, were hacked into the phones.
In an interview with the BBC, Facebook’s vice president of global communications and communications Nick Clegg said that WhatsApp is not to blame as its end-to-end encryption cannot be hacked. He then blamed the Apple operating system for the Bezos episode. NSO Group denies any involvement in this situation.