Shadowy NSO Group Fails To Show In Court To Defend Itself From Charges That It Hacked Smartphones Via WhatsApp

Readers of my blog may have heard me talk about The NSO Group. This is a company based in Israel that acquires exploits and sells them to some pretty repressive regimes for the purposes of spying on their citizens and those who are critical of said regimes. They’ve been fingered as being behind exploits in iOS that allegedly ensnared Jeff Bezos and WhatsApp. And it’s the latter that made Facebook who owns WhatsApp sue the NSO Group after a an exploit in WhatsApp was used to go after some dissidents and journalists. The NSO Group at the time promised to “vigorously” defend itself in court. The thing is that according to this story in Harretz, The NSO Group didn’t show up:

WhatsApp has taken a step toward winning its widely publicized lawsuit against the NSO Group after the Israeli spyware merchant failed to show up in court, according to a notice of default entered Monday in California.

And:

NSO promised to “vigorously fight” the allegations, but the firm was a no-show in the Northern District of California, where the case was filed.

Legal documents filed by WhatsApp detail repeated efforts to serve the company with legal documents, including emails to senior executives, FedEx-delivered copies to NSO board members, and even a hand-delivered copy of the suit left with NSO cofounder Omri Lavie’s wife at their New Jersey home.

Though a report in Bloomberg has the company singing a different tune:

“WhatsApp prematurely moved for default before properly serving NSO Group with the lawsuit,” a spokesman for the Israeli company said in a statement. “As NSO Group has not been formally served, this default notice will not stand. We cannot comment further about this ongoing matter.”

Well, that’s an interesting statement from a company who could have said the above in court but chose not to for whatever reason. In any case, expect the screws to turn on The NSO Group as I suspect it’s going to get harder and harder for them to avoid having to show up in court and answer questions about what they do and who they sell to.

One Response to “Shadowy NSO Group Fails To Show In Court To Defend Itself From Charges That It Hacked Smartphones Via WhatsApp”

  1. […] might recall that Facebook is currently suing the shadowy NSO Group who is known for selling top shelf spyware that often exploits zero day vectors to nation states […]

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