Apple warns users in 92 nations, over possible ‘mercenary spyware’ attacks

Apple. Photo Courtesy: Unsplash

#Apple, #MercenaryAttacks, #Pegasus, #India, #CyberCrime, #CyberAttack

IBNS-CMEDIA: Tech major Apple has warned users in India and 91 other nations that their iPhone might have been potentially attacked by ‘mercenary spyware‘.

However, the tech company has not attributed the attacks to any stakeholder.

The threat notification emails were sent at around 12.30 am IST on Thursday (April 11) to impacted users in India. It is unclear how many people have received the threat notification from Apple. The email also mentions the NSO-Group’s Pegasus spyware, saying tools like those are being used to target people on an ongoing basis globally, reported The Indian Express.

“ALERT: Apple detected a targeted mercenary spyware attack against your iPhone,” reads the subject line of the threat notification, a copy of which has been seen by the Indian newspaper.

“Apple detected that you are being targeted by a mercenary spyware attack that is trying to remotely compromise the iPhone associated with your Apple ID -xxx-. This attack is likely targeting you specifically because of who you are or what you do. Although it’s never possible to achieve absolute certainty when detecting such attacks, Apple has high confidence in this warning — please take it seriously,” the notification email added.

“Mercenary spyware attacks, such as those using Pegasus from the NSO Group, are exceptionally rare and vastly more sophisticated than regular cybercriminal activity or consumer malware. These attacks cost millions of dollars and are individually deployed against a very small number of people, but the targeting is ongoing and global,” Apple said in its threat notification.

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In the support page, Apple has mentioned ways to tackle the problem.

“Lockdown Mode is an extreme, optional protection for iPhone, iPad and Mac (running iOS 16, iPadOS 16.1 or macOS 13, or later) that should be used only if you believe you may be targeted by a highly sophisticated cyberattack, such as by a private company developing state-sponsored mercenary spyware,” read a guideline issued by the company in its support page titled ‘Harden your devices against mercenary spyware with Lockdown Mode’.