Apple sued spyware maker NSO on Tuesday for targeting the users of its devices, saying the Israeli firm at the center of the Pegasus surveillance scandal needs to be held to account.
The suit from the Silicon Valley giant adds new trouble for NSO, which was engulfed in controversy over reports that tens of thousands of activists, journalists and politicians were listed as potential targets of its Pegasus spyware.
US authorities just weeks ago restricted relations between NSO and American groups over allegations the Israel firm "enabled foreign governments to conduct transnational repression."
"To prevent further abuse and harm to its users, Apple is also seeking a permanent injunction to ban NSO Group from using any Apple software, services, or devices," Apple said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.
"NSO Group creates sophisticated, state-sponsored surveillance technology that allows its highly targeted spyware to surveil its victims," it added.
Following the initial concern over Pegasus, a subsequent wave of worries emerged when iPhone maker Apple released a fix in September for a weakness that can allow the spyware to infect devices without users even clicking on a malicious message or link.
The so-called "zero-click" is able to silently corrupt the targeted device, and was identified by researchers at Citizen Lab, a cybersecurity watchdog organization in Canada.