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Apple files lawsuit against NSO Group, saying U.S. citizens were targets

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Apple Inc said on Tuesday it has filed a lawsuit against Israeli cyber firm NSO Group and its parent company OSY Technologies for alleged surveillance and targeting of U.S. Apple users with its Pegasus spyware.

The iPhone maker said it is also seeking to ban NSO Group from using any Apple software, services or devices to prevent further abuse.

Apple is the latest in a string of companies and governments to come after NSO, the maker of the Pegasus hacking tool that watchdog groups say targeted human rights workers and journalists. Earlier this month, U.S. officials placed the company on a trade blacklist. NSO has also faced either legal action or criticism from Microsoft Corp, Meta Platforms Inc, Alphabet Inc and Cisco Systems Inc.

NSO is allegedly involved in circumventing security for products made by these companies and selling that circumvention in the form of hacking tools to foreign governments.

NSO did not immediately respond to a request for comment but has previously said it only sells its products to law enforcement and intelligence agencies and takes steps to curb abuse.

In its complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Apple said NSO’s tools were used in “concerted efforts in 2021 to target and attack Apple customers” and that “U.S. citizens have been surveilled by NSO’s spyware on mobile devices that can and do cross international borders.”

Apple alleged that NSO group created more than 100 fake Apple ID user credentials to carry out its attacks. Apple said that its servers were not hacked, but that NSO misused and manipulated the servers to deliver the attacks on Apple users.

Apple also alleged that NSO Group was directly involved in providing consulting services for the attacks, which is noteworthy because NSO has maintained that it sells its tools to clients.

“Defendants force Apple to engage in a continual arms race: Even as Apple develops solutions and enhances the security of its devices, Defendants are constantly updating their malware and exploits to overcome Apple’s own security upgrades,” Apple said.

Apple said it has so far seen no evidence of NSO’s tools being used against Apple devices using iOS 15, the latest version of its mobile operating system.

The iPhone maker said that it will donate $10 million, as well as any damages recovered in the lawsuit, to cybersurveillance research groups including Citizen Lab, the University of Toronto group that first discovered NSO’s attacks.

 

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru, Stephen Nellis in San Francisco, Chris Bing in Washington and Steven Scheer in Tel Aviv; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Mark Porter and Cynthia Osterman)

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Google real estate executive says 5% more workers coming in to office each week

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Alphabet Inc’s Google has seen an increasing number of employees coming in to its offices each week, particularly younger workers, the company’s real estate chief said during an interview at the Reuters Next conference on Friday.

On Thursday, Google indefinitely pushed back the mandated return date for employees due to concerns about the Omicron variant. The company had previously said its 150,000 global employees could be required to come in to the office as soon as Jan. 10.

Nevertheless, David Radcliffe, Google’s vice president for real estate and workplace services, said many Googlers are returning of their own volition. About 40% of its U.S. employees on average came in to the office daily in recent weeks, up from 20-25% three months ago, he said. Globally, 5% more employees are returning to offices week after week, he added.

“People are actually showing voluntarily that they want to be back in the office,” Radcliffe said. “We’re moving in the right direction.”

Younger employees and those who joined Google more recently have been coming in at higher rates, seeking opportunities to learn from colleagues, Radcliffe added.

Google expects workers in the office at least three days a week once it mandates a new return date.

Based on feedback from those already back, it is redesigning floor plans to increase private, quiet spaces for distraction-free individual work and adding conferencing and other collaboration areas in open spaces both indoors and outdoors.

Real estate and human resources experts have considered Google a trailblazer for the past 20 years in sustainable office design and variety of workplace perks, including free meals, massages and gyms.

To extend those sustainability and wellness benefits to remote work, Google has encouraged employees to buy carbon offsets and non-toxic furniture for their home offices. It also has provided free cooking classes and discounts to fitness studios near workers’ homes.

“It was amazing how many employees had really never cooked themselves,” Radcliffe said.

 

(Reporting by Paresh Dave in Oakland, Calif., and Julia Love in San Francisco; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Matthew Lewis)

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S&P/TSX composite down nearly 200 points, U.S. stock markets also lower – Business News – Castanet.net

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Canada’s main stock index was down nearly 200 points in late-morning trading, led lower by losses in the technology, base metal and industrial sectors, while U.S. stock markets also fell.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 176.86 points at 20,585.17.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 160.83 points at 34,478.96. The S&P 500 index was down 48.14 points at 4,528.96, while the Nasdaq composite was down 341.27 points at 15,040.05.

The Canadian dollar traded for 78.05 cents US compared with 78.03 cents US on Thursday.

The January crude oil contract was up US$1.54 at US$68.04 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was up eight cents at US$4.14 per mmBTU.

The February gold contract was up US$14.90 at US$1,777.60 an ounce and the March copper contract was down two cents at US$4.28 a pound.

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Canada secures orders of Merck, Pfizer COVID-19 antiviral pills – Globalnews.ca

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The federal government has signed purchase agreements with two pharmaceutical companies for their oral COVID-19 treatments.

Filomena Tassi, Canada’s minister of public services and procurement, told reporters on Friday the government has signed agreements with Pfizer and Merck to buy up to 1.5 million courses of their antiviral treatment, PF-07321332 and Molnupiravir.

Both treatments are under Health Canada review, Tassi added.

“We also know that access to effective, easy-to-use treatments is critical to reducing the severity of COVID infections and will help save lives,” she said.

“As soon as these drugs are authorized for use, the government will work on getting them to provinces and territories as quickly as possible so that health-care providers can help Canadians who need them most.”

Read more:

Canadians 18+ should be offered COVID-19 booster 6 months after 2nd shot, NACI says

As part of its initial order, the government has reached an agreement with Pfizer for one million courses of its treatment, pending Health Canada approval.

The government’s deal with Merck is for up to 500,000 courses of its treatment, with an option to add 500,000 more pending approval, Tassi added.


Click to play video: 'Pfizer, Merck press ahead with pills to treat COVID-19'



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Pfizer, Merck press ahead with pills to treat COVID-19


Pfizer, Merck press ahead with pills to treat COVID-19 – Nov 5, 2021

On Wednesday, Pfizer started a rolling submission with Health Canada for its pill, which it said is designed to block a key enzyme needed for the COVID-19 virus to multiply.

Pfizer also said its treatment can cut the chance of hospitalization or death for adults at risk of severe disease by 89 per cent.

Read more:

COVID-19 antiviral pill approved in U.K. still being reviewed by Health Canada

Meanwhile, Merck’s pill is still under review by Health Canada as the company continues its rolling submission.

Last week, Merck shared data suggesting its drug was significantly less effective than previously thought, reducing hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk individuals by around 30 per cent.

The treatment has received approval in the United Kingdom.

— with files from The Canadian Press and Reuters

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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