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Apple warns users wordwide its iPhones are insecure

by on12 April 2024

Could be subject to "mercenary spyware" attacks

Fruity cargo cult Apple sent threat notifications to iPhone users in 92 countries, warning that they may be in the crosshairs of “mercenary spyware attacks.”

Jobs’ Mob always claimed it was much more secure than Android phones, so mundane hackers can’t simply nobble it - its iPhones can only be taken down by mercenaries.

The tech titan confirmed it dispatched the alerts to individuals across 92 nations at noon Pacific Time. Techcrunch glimpsed the notification, which kept mum on the attackers' identities or the countries where users received notifications.

“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-,” the warning to affected customers read.

Apple does not believe that ordinary iPhone users, sitting at home in their mother’s basements listening to Coldplay and U2 on an endless loop, have much to fear. It is more likely to be journalists, politicians and dissidents who have something to fear.

“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,” Apple further cautioned.

However, Apple insists that there is nothing to worry about. It sends these notifications several times yearly and has alerted users to such threats in over 150 countries since 2021. It's a mystery how Jobs’ Mob got a rep for being secure with that many “turn off your iPhones or you will die” warnings.

Apple sent an identical warning to various journalists and politicians in India in October last year. Subsequently, nonprofit advocacy group Amnesty International disclosed that it had discovered spyware maker NSO Group’s intrusive spyware Pegasus on the iPhones of notable journalists in India. (Users in India have received Apple’s latest threat notifications.)

These spyware alerts come as numerous nations are gearing up for elections. In recent months, many tech firms have warned about escalating state-sponsored efforts to influence specific electoral outcomes. However, Apple’s alerts did not comment on their timing.

Apple informed affected customers, “We cannot provide more information about what caused us to send you this notification, as that may help mercenary spyware attackers adapt their behaviour to evade detection in the future.”

So that is helpful.  Something may be wrong with your iPhone; we can’t tell you what it is or how to fix it, but be careful.

Apple previously labelled the attackers as “state-sponsored” but has since replaced all such references with “mercenary spyware attacks,” probably not to miff the governments that have bought the spyware. Apple is particularly keen not to hack off the Chinese or Indians at the moment. 

Jobs’ Mob insists: “Mercenary spyware attacks, such as those using Pegasus from the NSO Group, are sporadic and vastly more sophisticated than regular cybercriminal activity or consumer malware.”

Last modified on 12 April 2024
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