Written by AJ Vicens
Dec 15, 2021 | CYBERSCOOP
When Apple announced Nov. 23 that it filed a lawsuit against Israeli spyware firm NSO Group, it claimed that the firm and its clients “devote the immense resources and capabilities of nation-states to conduct highly targeted cyberattacks.” An independent analysis published Wednesday backs that claim up.
Google Project Zero researchers Ian Beer and Samuel Groß took a deep dive into FORCEDENTRY, the malware developed by NSO Group that allowed adversaries to infect targeted Apple devices — without the owner’s knowledge — with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. The researchers concluded that it’s “one of the most technically sophisticated exploits” they’ve ever seen, rivaling “those previously thought to be accessible to only a handful of nation states.”
Previous iterations of the Pegasus software required the victim to click a link in an SMS message. But FORCEDENTRY was an example of NSO Group’s zero-click exploitation technology, where no interaction from the target was required.
“Short of not using a device, there is no way to prevent exploitation by a zero-click exploit,” the researchers wrote Wednesday. “It’s a weapon against which there is no defense.”
The analysis details how FORCEDENTRY exploited a since-patched vulnerability