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Apple Files Lawsuit Against Spyware Firm NSO Group

Apple (AAPL) has filed a lawsuit against NSO Group for illegally installing its spyware product, Pegasus, on some Apple devices. The tech giant also disclosed that none of its servers was hacked, or compromised, in the cyberattacks.

The exploit was first identified by the Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto. It is alleged that NSO Group created Apple IDs to transfer malicious data and install Pegasus on victims’ devices without their knowledge. With this transfer, NSO Group was able to access the microphone, camera and other sensitive data on the Apple devices. (See Apple stock charts on TipRanks)

Apple has assured its clients, who have iPhones with iOS 15 and later versions, that no evidence of successful remote attacks on the devices has been found. Also, it added that the company continued to update its security protections.

The Head of Apple Security Engineering and Architecture, Ivan Krstić, said, “Our threat intelligence and engineering teams work around the clock to analyse new threats, rapidly patch vulnerabilities, and develop industry-leading new protections in our software and silicon. Apple runs one of the most sophisticated security engineering operations in the world, and we will continue to work tirelessly to protect our users from abusive state-sponsored actors like NSO Group.”

Redressal Demanded

Apple seeks to have a ban placed on NSO Group to stop it from impacting individuals through Apple’s products and services. Also, it demands redress for violations of US federal and state law, arising out of its efforts to target and attack Apple and its users.

Apple’s Efforts to Counter Attacks

The company has announced plans to invest $10 million and pay any damages from the lawsuit to organizations pursuing cybersurveillance research and advocacy. Also, it has extended its support to groups like the Citizen Lab and Amnesty Tech for their efforts to help identify such attacks.

Moreover, Apple will be extending pro-bono technical, threat intelligence, and engineering assistance to support the Citizen Lab’s independent research mission.

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Stock Rating

Recently, Wells Fargo analyst Aaron Rakers maintained a Buy rating on Apple with a price target of $165 (2.2% upside potential from current level).

The China Academy of Information and Communications Technology released data for mobile phone shipment and non-China branded mobile phone shipments in October, up 85% year-over-year. Based on this information, Rakers is of the opinion that the implied non-China branded mobile phone shipments can be a positive derivative data point for Apple’s iPhone.

The rest of the Street is cautiously optimistic about the stock and has a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on 21 Buys, 6 Holds and 1 Sell. The average Apple price target of $166.92 implies 3.4% upside potential.

Website Traffic 

TipRanks’ Website Traffic Tool, which uses data from SEMrush Holdings (SEMR), the world’s biggest website usage monitoring service, offers insight into Apple’s performance.

According to the tool, Apple’s website recorded a 6.3% monthly decline, year-over-year, in global unique visits in October. Meanwhile, year-to-date website growth, compared to year-to-date website growth in the previous year, came in at 9.2%.

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