U.S. administration concerned about threat from commercial spyware

U.S. administration concerned about threat from commercial spyware

The U.S. administration is concerned about the threat posed to U.S. officials by commercial spyware. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this at a briefing Friday, commenting on reports that State Department employees’ iPhones had been hacked with software from the Israeli company NSO Group.

“We are very concerned that commercial spyware, such as NSO Group’s software, poses a serious counterintelligence and security threat to U.S. employees,” she said.

For that reason, she said, U.S. authorities “have stepped up government-wide efforts to confront and limit the proliferation of these commercial hacking tools.”

Psaki did not comment directly on the incident with the State Department employees in question. The iPhones of at least nine State Department employees have been hacked over the past few months. The attacks were carried out using software developed by the NSO Group. This is the largest known case of US officials’ devices being hacked using the company’s technology.

In late November Apple Corp. filed a lawsuit against NSO Group and its parent company Q Cyber Technologies to prosecute them for spying on Apple devices using spyware.

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