Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) has joined a group of leading technology companies in filing an amicus letter in the United States Ninth Circle Appeals Court to resolve a lawsuit filed by Facebook, Inc. (FB) Subsidiary WhatsApp Inc. against the spyware provider NSO Group Technologies Limited.If youFacebook’s own messaging service WhatsApp sued the NSO Group in 2019, claiming its software was used to hack 1,400 devices, some of which belonged to journalists and human rights activists.If youIf you If youIf you
The companies that are partnering in filing the Amicus Brief are Microsoft, Microsoft subsidiaries GitHub, Inc. and LinkedIn Corporation, Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO), Alphabet, Inc. (Aco, TogetL) Subsidiary Google LLC and VMware, Inc. (VMW) and the Internet Association, a trading group that includes a number of prominent technology companies.If youIf you
- Microsoft has filed a legal brief in support of WhatsApp’s lawsuit against spyware seller NSO Group.
- Cisco Systems, Google, VMware and the Internet Association are co-signatories to the contract.
- NSO’s Pegasus software has been used by authoritarian governments to spy on journalists and human rights activists.
The case against the NSO Group
The NSO Group, based in Israel, is a developer and seller of Pegasus spyware. Her customers include the governments of Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain and Mexico. Pegasus allows the user to embed stealthy hacks into the devices used by their targets, track victims’ locations, read messages, listen to calls and copy all kinds of data on these devices.If youIf you If youIf you If youIf you
Regarding WhatsApp, Pegasus was so stealthy that it could be installed on a device simply by accessing that device through WhatsApp. This happened regardless of whether the owner of the device replied or not.If youIf you
In response to WhatsApp’s lawsuit, the NSO Group argued that it should be sovereignly granted immunityas its tools are used by governments. In July 2020, a judge in the United States District Court dismissed this argument.If youIf you If youIf you If youIf you
In a highly worded blog post titled “Cyber Mercenaries Don’t Deserve Immunity,” Tom Burt, corporate vice president of security and trust at Microsoft, condemns the NSO Group as “mercenaries of the 21st century” whose “guns harm innocent people.” add and “company.”If youIf you
In a key passage, Burt warns, “A growing industry of companies known as Private Sector Offensive Agents, or PSOAs, is developing and selling cyber weapons that allow their customers to break into people’s computers, phones, and Internet-connected devices … We believe that the NSO Group’s business model is dangerous and that such immunity would allow it and other PSOAs to continue their dangerous business without legal rules, responsibilities or implications. “If youIf you
Burt also notes, “The company [NSO Group] also adds to the urgency Online Safety Challenges that were discussed by our President Brad Smith last week. “Here he refers to a detailed call to action made by Smith in the wake of SolarWinds Corporation (SWI) chop.If youIf you
Importance for investors
Microsoft is clearly establishing itself as a leader in cybersecurity. On the one hand, Microsoft will incur costs by stepping up neutralizing problems that were not caused by itself, as in the case of SolarWinds. On the flip side, the success of these efforts, as well as Microsoft’s increasing profile in the cybersecurity advocacy, will add credibility in this area, which should fuel the additional business.