In a recent court filing amid an ongoing lawsuit, CEO of controversial Israeli software company NSO Group has claimed that his firm was approached by Facebook representatives to try and buy a tool that could help the social networking giant better monitor its users, Vice reports.
NSO CEO Shalev Hulio notes in his declaration that his firm was approached by a couple of Facebook representatives back in 2017 with an intent to purchase the right to use Pegasus, a product sold by NSO that allows operators to remotely infect cell phones and lift data from them.
NSO, which is currently being sued by Facebook for leveraging a vulnerability in WhatsApp to help governments hack users, has maintained that it only sells Pegasus to intelligence and law enforcement agency clients.
“The Facebook representatives stated that Facebook was concerned that its method for gathering user data through Onavo Protect was less effective on Apple devices than on Android devices,” the court filing reads. “The Facebook representatives also stated that Facebook wanted to use purported capabilities of Pegasus to monitor users on Apple devices and were willing to pay for the ability to monitor Onavo Protect users.”
NSO Group is also known for selling powerful hacking technology to authoritarian governments such as Saudi Arabia.