#1 Trusted Cybersecurity News Platform Followed by 4.50+ million
The Hacker News Logo
Get the Free Newsletter
SaaS Security

NSO Group | Breaking Cybersecurity News | The Hacker News

Russian Journalist's iPhone Compromised by NSO Group's Zero-Click Spyware

Russian Journalist's iPhone Compromised by NSO Group's Zero-Click Spyware

Sep 14, 2023 Spyware / Malware
The iPhone belonging to Galina Timchenko, a prominent Russian journalist and critic of the government, was compromised with NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, a new collaborative investigation from  Access Now  and the  Citizen Lab  has revealed. The infiltration is said to have happened on or around February 10, 2023. Timchenko is the executive editor and owner of  Meduza , an independent news publication based in Latvia. It's currently not clear who deployed the malware on the device. The Washington Post  reported  that the Russian government is not a client of NSO Group, citing an unnamed person familiar with the company's operations. "During the infection her device was localized to the GMT+1 timezone, and she reports being in Berlin, Germany," the Citizen Lab said. "The day following the infection she was scheduled to attend a private meeting with other heads of Russian independent media exiled in Europe to discuss how to manage threats and censorship by P
Predator Android Spyware: Researchers Uncover New Data Theft Capabilities

Predator Android Spyware: Researchers Uncover New Data Theft Capabilities

May 26, 2023 Spyware / Cyber Attack
Security researchers have detailed the inner workings of the commercial Android spyware called Predator, which is marketed by the Israeli company Intellexa (previously Cytrox). Predator was  first documented  by Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) in May 2022 as part of attacks leveraging five different zero-day flaws in the Chrome web browser and Android. The spyware, which is delivered by means of another loader component known as Alien, is equipped to record audio from phone calls and VoIP-based apps as well as gather contacts and messages, including from Signal, WhatsApp, and Telegram. Its other functionalities allow it to hide applications and prevent applications from being executed upon rebooting the handset. "A deep dive into both spyware components indicates that Alien is more than just a loader for Predator and actively sets up the low-level capabilities needed for Predator to spy on its victims," Cisco Talos  said  in a technical report. Spyware like Pre
How Nation-State Actors Target Your Business: New Research Exposes Major SaaS Vulnerabilities

How Nation-State Actors Target Your Business: New Research Exposes Major SaaS Vulnerabilities

Feb 15, 2024SaaS Security / Risk Management
With many of the highly publicized 2023 cyber attacks revolving around one or more SaaS applications, SaaS has become a cause for genuine concern in many boardroom discussions. More so than ever, considering that GenAI applications are, in fact, SaaS applications. Wing Security (Wing), a SaaS security company, conducted an analysis of 493 SaaS-using companies in Q4 of 2023.  Their study reveals  how companies use SaaS today, and the wide variety of threats that result from that usage. This unique analysis provides rare and important insights into the breadth and depth of SaaS-related risks, but also provides practical tips to mitigate them and ensure SaaS can be widely used without compromising security posture.  The TL;DR Version Of SaaS Security 2023 brought some now infamous examples of malicious players leveraging or directly targeting SaaS, including the North Korean group UNC4899, 0ktapus ransomware group, and Russian Midnight Blizzard APT, which targeted well-known organizat
NSO Group Used 3 Zero-Click iPhone Exploits Against Human Rights Defenders

NSO Group Used 3 Zero-Click iPhone Exploits Against Human Rights Defenders

Apr 20, 2023 Zero-Day / Spyware
Israeli spyware maker NSO Group deployed at least three novel "zero-click" exploits against iPhones in 2022 to infiltrate defenses erected by Apple and deploy Pegasus, according to the latest findings from Citizen Lab. "NSO Group customers widely deployed at least three iOS 15 and iOS 16 zero-click exploit chains against civil society targets around the world," the interdisciplinary laboratory based at the University of Toronto  said . NSO Group is the manufacturer of  Pegasus , a sophisticated cyber weapon that's capable of extracting sensitive information stored in a device – e.g., messages, locations, photos, and call logs, among others — in real-time. It's typically delivered to targeted iPhones using zero-click and/or zero-day exploits. While it has been pitched as a tool for law enforcement agencies to combat serious crimes such as child sexual abuse and terrorism, it has also been deployed illegally by authoritarian governments to spy on human rig
cyber security

Are You Vulnerable to Third-Party Breaches Through Interconnected SaaS Apps?

websiteWing SecuritySaaS Security / Risk Management
Protect against cascading risks by identifying and mitigating app2app and third-party SaaS vulnerabilities.
NSO Confirms Pegasus Spyware Used by at least 5 European Countries

NSO Confirms Pegasus Spyware Used by at least 5 European Countries

Jun 23, 2022
The beleaguered Israeli surveillanceware vendor NSO Group this week admitted to the European Union lawmakers that its Pegasus tool was used by at least five countries in the region. "We're trying to do the right thing and that's more than other companies working in the industry," Chaim Gelfand, the company's general counsel and chief compliance officer, said, according to a  report  from Politico. Acknowledging that it had "made mistakes," the company also stressed on the need for an international standard to regulate the government use of spyware. The disclosure comes as a special inquiry committee was  launched in April 2022  to investigate alleged breaches of E.U. law following revelations that the company's Pegasus spyware is being used to snoop on phones belonging to politicians, diplomats, and civil society members. "The committee is going to look into existing national laws regulating surveillance, and whether Pegasus spyware was us
Experts Uncover Spyware Attacks Against Catalan Politicians and Activists

Experts Uncover Spyware Attacks Against Catalan Politicians and Activists

Apr 19, 2022
A previously unknown zero-click exploit in Apple's iMessage was used to install mercenary spyware from  NSO Group  and  Candiru  against at least 65 individuals as part of a "multi-year clandestine operation." "Victims included Members of the European Parliament, Catalan Presidents, legislators, jurists, and members of civil society organizations," the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab  said  in a new report. "Family members were also infected in some cases." Of the 65 individuals, 63 were targeted with Pegasus and four others were infected with Candiru, with iPhones belonging to at least two compromised with both. The incidents are said to have mostly occurred between 2017 and 2020. The attacks involved the weaponization of an iOS exploit dubbed HOMAGE that made it possible to penetrate the devices running versions prior to iOS 13.2, which was released on October 28, 2019. It's worth noting that the latest version of iOS is iOS 15.4.1.
E.U. Officials Reportedly Targeted with Israeli Pegasus Spyware

E.U. Officials Reportedly Targeted with Israeli Pegasus Spyware

Apr 12, 2022
Senior officials in the European Union were allegedly targeted with NSO Group's infamous Pegasus surveillance tool, according to a  new report  from Reuters. At least five individuals, including European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders, are said to have been singled out in total, the news agency said, citing documents and two unnamed E.U. officials. However, it's not clear who used the commercial spyware against them or what information was obtained following the attacks. NSO Group said in a statement shared with Reuters that it was not responsible for the hacking attempts, adding that the targeting "could not have happened with NSO's tools." The intrusions are said to have come to light after Apple notified the victims of state-sponsored attacks last November as part of its efforts to stop the Israeli surveillance firm from targeting its customers. That same month, the iPhone maker  filed a lawsuit  against NSO Group, seeking a court-issued injunction
EU Data Protection Watchdog Calls for Ban on Pegasus-like Commercial Spyware

EU Data Protection Watchdog Calls for Ban on Pegasus-like Commercial Spyware

Feb 16, 2022
The European Union's data protection authority on Tuesday called for a ban on the development and the use of Pegasus-like commercial spyware in the region, stating that the technology's "unprecedented level of intrusiveness" could endanger users' right to privacy. "Pegasus constitutes a paradigm shift in terms of access to private communications and devices, which is able to affect the very essence of our fundamental rights, in particular the right to privacy," the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS)  said  in its preliminary remarks. "This fact makes its use incompatible with our democratic values." Pegasus  is a piece of highly advanced military-grade intrusion software developed by Israeli company NSO Group that's capable of breaking into smartphones running Android and iOS, turning the devices into a remote monitoring tool capable of extracting sensitive information, recording conversations, and tracking users' movements.
Another Israeli Firm, QuaDream, Caught Weaponizing iPhone Bug for Spyware

Another Israeli Firm, QuaDream, Caught Weaponizing iPhone Bug for Spyware

Feb 04, 2022
A now-patched security vulnerability in Apple iOS that was previously found to be exploited by Israeli company NSO Group was also separately weaponized by a different surveillance vendor named QuaDream to hack into the company's devices. The development was reported by  Reuters , citing unnamed sources, noting that "the two rival businesses gained the same ability last year to remotely break into iPhones [and] compromise Apple phones without an owner needing to open a malicious link." The zero-click exploit in question is  FORCEDENTRY , a flaw in iMessage that could be leveraged to  circumvent iOS security protections  and install spyware that allowed attackers to scoop up a wealth of information such as contacts, emails, files, messages, and photos, as well as access to the phone's camera and microphone. Google Project Zero, which studies zero-day vulnerabilities in hardware and software systems such as operating systems, web browsers, and open source libraries,
Pegasus Spyware Reportedly Hacked iPhones of U.S. State Department and Diplomats

Pegasus Spyware Reportedly Hacked iPhones of U.S. State Department and Diplomats

Dec 04, 2021
Apple reportedly notified several U.S. Embassy and State Department employees that their iPhones may have been targeted by an unknown assailant using state-sponsored spyware created by the controversial Israeli company NSO Group, according to multiple reports from  Reuters  and  The Washington Post . At least 11 U.S. Embassy officials stationed in Uganda or focusing on issues pertaining to the country are said to have  singled out  using iPhones registered to their overseas phone numbers, although the identity of the threat actors behind the intrusions, or the nature of the information sought, remains unknown as yet. The attacks, which were carried out in the last several months, mark the first known time the sophisticated surveillance software has been put to use against U.S. government employees. NSO Group is the maker of Pegasus , military-grade spyware that allows its government clients to stealthily plunder files and photos, eavesdrop on conversations, and track the whereabou
Israel Bans Sales of Hacking and Surveillance Tools to 65 Countries

Israel Bans Sales of Hacking and Surveillance Tools to 65 Countries

Nov 26, 2021
Israel's Ministry of Defense has dramatically restricted the number of countries to which cybersecurity firms operating in the nation are allowed to sell offensive hacking and surveillance tools to, cutting off 65 nations from the export list. The revised list, details of which were first reported by the Israeli business newspaper  Calcalist , now only includes 37 countries, down from the previous 102: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the U.K., and the U.S. Notably missing from the list are countries such as Morocco, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E, which have been previously identified as customers of Israeli spyware vendor NSO Group. In curtailing the exports, the mov
Apple Sues Israel's NSO Group for Spying on iPhone Users With Pegasus Spyware

Apple Sues Israel's NSO Group for Spying on iPhone Users With Pegasus Spyware

Nov 24, 2021
Apple has sued NSO Group and its parent company Q Cyber Technologies in a U.S. federal court holding it accountable for illegally targeting users with its Pegasus surveillance tool, marking yet another setback for the Israeli spyware vendor. The Cupertino-based tech giant painted NSO Group as "notorious hackers — amoral 21st century mercenaries who have created highly sophisticated cyber-surveillance machinery that invites routine and flagrant abuse." In addition, the lawsuit seeks to permanently prevent the infamous hacker-for-hire company from breaking into any Apple software, services or devices. The iPhone maker, separately, also revealed its plans to  notify targets  of state-sponsored spyware attacks and has committed $10 million, as well as any monetary damages won as part of the lawsuit, to cybersurveillance research groups and advocates. To that end, the company intends to display a "Threat Notification" after the targeted users sign into appleid.apple[
US Sanctions Pegasus-maker NSO Group and 3 Others For Selling Spyware

US Sanctions Pegasus-maker NSO Group and 3 Others For Selling Spyware

Nov 04, 2021
The U.S. Commerce Department on Wednesday added four companies, including Israel-based spyware companies NSO Group and Candiru , to a list of entities engaging in "malicious cyber activities." The agency said the two companies were added to the list based on evidence that "these entities developed and supplied spyware to foreign governments that used these tools to maliciously target government officials, journalists, businesspeople, activists, academics, and embassy workers." "These tools have also enabled foreign governments to conduct transnational repression, which is the practice of authoritarian governments targeting dissidents, journalists, and activists outside of their sovereign borders to silence dissent," the Commerce Department  said . Two other firms on the list include Singapore-based Computer Security Initiative Consultancy PTE. LTD . and Russia's Positive Technologies , the latter of which was already  sanctioned  by the U.S. Depa
NYT Journalist Repeatedly Hacked with Pegasus after Reporting on Saudi Arabia

NYT Journalist Repeatedly Hacked with Pegasus after Reporting on Saudi Arabia

Oct 25, 2021
The iPhone of New York Times journalist Ben Hubbard was repeatedly hacked with NSO Group's Pegasus spyware tool over a three-year period stretching between June 2018 to June 2021, resulting in infections twice in July 2020 and June 2021. The University of Toronto's Citizen Lab, which  publicized  the findings on Sunday, said the "targeting took place while he was reporting on Saudi Arabia, and writing a book about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman." The research institute did not attribute the infiltrations to a specific government. In a  statement  shared with Hubbard, the Israeli company denied its involvement in the hacks and dismissed the findings as "speculation," while noting that the journalist was not "a target of Pegasus by any of NSO's customers." To date, NSO Group is believed to have leveraged at least three different iOS exploits — namely an iMessage zero-click exploit in December 2019, a  KISMET  exploit targeting iOS 13
Facebook Sues Israeli NSO Spyware Firm For Hacking WhatsApp Users

Facebook Sues Israeli NSO Spyware Firm For Hacking WhatsApp Users

Oct 29, 2019
Finally, for the very first time, an encrypted messaging service provider is taking legal action against a private entity that has carried out malicious attacks against its users. Facebook filed a lawsuit against Israeli mobile surveillance firm NSO Group on Tuesday, alleging that the company was actively involved in hacking users of its end-to-end encrypted WhatsApp messaging service. Earlier this year, it was discovered that WhatsApp had a critical vulnerability that attackers were found exploiting in the wild to remotely install Pegasus spyware on targeted Android and iOS devices. The flaw (CVE-2019-3568) successfully allowed attackers to silently install the spyware app on targeted phones by merely placing a WhatsApp video call with specially crafted requests, even when the call was not answered. Developed by NSO Group, Pegasus allows access to an incredible amount of data from victims' smartphones remotely, including their text messages, emails, WhatsApp chats,
NSO Spyware Targets Saudi Human Rights Activists and Researchers

NSO Spyware Targets Saudi Human Rights Activists and Researchers

Aug 01, 2018
Amnesty International, one of the most prominent non-profit human rights organizations in the world, claims one of its staff members has been targeted by a sophisticated surveillance tool made by Israel's NSO Group. The NSO Group is an Israeli firm that's mostly known for selling high-tech spyware and surveillance malware capable of remotely cracking into Apple's iPhones and Google's Android devices to intelligence apparatuses, militaries, and law enforcement around the world. The company's most powerful spyware called Pegasus for iPhone , Android , and other mobile devices has previously been used to target human rights activists and journalists, from Mexico to the United Arab Emirates. Pegasus has been designed to hack mobile phones remotely, allowing an attacker to access an incredible amount of data on a target victim, including text messages, emails, WhatsApp messages , user's location, microphone, and camera —all without the victim's knowl
Ex-NSO Employee Caught Selling Stolen Phone Hacking Tool For $50 Million

Ex-NSO Employee Caught Selling Stolen Phone Hacking Tool For $50 Million

Jul 05, 2018
A former employee of one of the world's most powerful hacking companies NSO Group has been arrested and charged with stealing phone hacking tools from the company and trying to sell it for $50 million on the Darknet secretly. Israeli hacking firm NSO Group is mostly known for selling high-tech malware capable of remotely cracking into Apple's iPhones and Google's Android devices to intelligence apparatuses, militaries, and law enforcement around the world. However, the phone hacking company has recently become the victim of an insider breach attack carried out by a 38-year-old former NSO employee, who stole the source code for the company's most powerful spyware called Pegasus and tried to sell it for $50 million on the dark web in various cryptocurrencies, including Monero and Zcash, Israeli media reported. That's much higher than the actual NSO Group's price tag for Pegasus, which reportedly sells for under $1 million per deployment. If you remember
Mexican Govt. Allegedly Used Spyware Against Journalists, Activists & A Child

Mexican Govt. Allegedly Used Spyware Against Journalists, Activists & A Child

Jun 19, 2017
After the disclosure of sophisticated global espionage and disinformation campaign aimed to discredit enemies of the state, Citizen Lab researchers exposed the dirty game of the Mexican government and its politics. The report — " Government Spy: Systematic monitoring of journalists and human rights defenders in Mexico " — published by Citizen Lab today revealed how the Mexican government used advanced spyware tools purchased from the NSO Group to target the country's most prominent human rights lawyers, anti-corruption activists, and journalists. The NSO Group, an Israel-based company that produces the most advanced mobile spyware on the planet, sold the tool to governments with an explicit agreement that it should be used only to fight terrorists or criminal groups that have long kidnapped and killed Mexicans. But, the Mexican government targets include: Lawyers looking into the case of 43 Students disappeared in September 2014 from the town of Iguala. Two
Cybersecurity Resources