Secretive Company NSO Group Builds Tools To Hack iPhones

By Victor Thomson , Aug 26, 2016 03:00 AM EDT

On Thursday, August 25, security firm Lookout announced its discovery of a major iOS security flaw that can give complete control over a iPhone to a third-party. Apple has issues an unexpected software update to iOS, version 9.3.5, and you need to install it now if you have an iPhone.

iPhones Security Flaw Exploited By NSO Group

Security firm Lookout goes in details about the discovery of a new security flaw on a post published on its company blog. According to the explanation posted by Lookout, Israel-based NSO Group is the secretive company behind the attack on iPhones that exploits the iOS security vulnerability.

According to Business Insider, a text message is used by the attacker to send a link to the victim's iPhone. The attacker achieves easy access to nearly everything on the iPhone in case that the victim clicks the link.

Apple has been warned by Lookout about the exploit before the security firm went public with the information. In order to fix the security flaw, Apple has released an update to iOS, version 9.3.5, on Thursday, August 25. Users of iPhones can update them by going to Software Update under the General tab in Settings.

An Apple spokesperson told the publication that the company fixed the vulnerability with iOS 9.3.5 as soon as it was made aware of it.  In order to prevent potential security exploits, Apple advises all its customers to keep their devices always updated to the latest version of iOS.

The NSO Group

According to Tech Crunch, Citizen Lab's analysis revealed that the newly found vulnerabilities are the work of the Israel-based company called NSO Group. The secretive firm that developed the iPhones hacking tools is specialized in developing surveillance software.

The NSO Group's iPhones hacking tools exploiting the iOS vulnerabilities are offered in a product called Pegasus. Security experts believe that the Israeli company might offer similar exploits for Blackberry and Android. According to security company Lookout, it is possible that the iOS exploit has been already available for purchase for around two years.

The secretive company NSO Group maintains little web presence and keeps deliberately a low profile. According to Lookout's research, the NSO Group was founded in the year 2010 and since then it focuses exclusively on mobile exploits. 

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