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Apple’s spyware problem getting worse

by on07 May 2024

Faithbased security failing

The fruity cargo cult Apple is getting into serious trouble over its current surge in spyware.

In April, the tech titan sent out a flurry of notifications to iPhone users across 92 countries, blaring alarms that they'd been marked by spyware. "Jobs' Mob detected that you are being targeted by a mercenary spyware attack trying to compromise the iPhone associated with Apple ID remotely," the notification blared.

 Users were left scratching their heads and took to social media sites, including X, in a frenzy to decode the cryptic message.  After all, Apple could not be telling them that they were insecure. The Tame Apple press had been telling them for years that they were completely safe.

A good chunk of the befuddled lot was from India, but a few Europeans also chimed in, saying Jobs' Mob's warning had pinged them.

Fast-forward a few weeks, and we're still in the dark about these iPhone ambushes. The once-mighty Blackberry, now playing at being a security boffin, reckons it's all tied up with a Chinese spyware shindig called "LightSpy."

Jobs' Mob reckons that's a load of tosh and officially denied the claim, but according to Blackberry's insecurity experts, the spyware's still out there, lurking and growing like a bad weed, especially in Southern Asia.

They're calling it a "sophisticated iOS implant," which first reared its ugly head targeting Hong Kong protesters back in 2020. But this new beastie's a whole other kettle of fish.

The researchers wrote, "It is a fully-featured modular surveillance toolset that primarily focuses on exfiltrating victims' private information, including hyper-specific location data and sound recording during voice-over IP calls."

Now, this spyware malarkey can be a nasty piece of work when those shadowy nation-state types wield it – but that's a rare and pricey game. It's usually a sniper's job, targeting a teeny-tiny group of peeps like journos, rebels, government bodies, and certain business sectors.

 "Such attacks are vastly more complex than regular cybercriminal activity and consumer malware, as mercenary spyware attackers apply exceptional resources to target a very small number of specific individuals and their devices," Jobs' Mob warned in an April advisory.

"Mercenary spyware attacks cost millions of dollars and often have a short shelf life, making them much harder to detect and prevent. Such attacks will never target the vast majority of users." Plus, Jobs' Mob's banging on about their Lockdown Mode feature being the bee's knees for dodging these attacks. "

For Apple fanboys who want to avoid losing their Coldplay and U2 collection to a hacker here are some tips:

1. Regularly Update Devices: Keep your gizmos up-to-date with the latest software to fend off the known nasties.

2. Restart Devices Daily: Give your device a reboot every day to throw a spanner in the works for any clingy spyware, making the buggers have another crack at infecting your device, which might just get them caught.

3. Disable Vulnerable Features: If you're feeling a bit iffy about being a spyware magnet, maybe you should temporarily disable iMessage and FaceTime.

4. Use Multifactor Authentication and Secure Sources: Double up on security checks and only snag apps from the up-and-up places to stop any dodgy downloads.

5. Monitor for Indicators: Keep your peepers peeled for any funny business like your battery doing a runner, your device throwing a wobbly, or your data gobbling up more than its fair share, though the real slick spyware might not leave such clumsy footprints.

6.  Seek Professional Help: If you reckon you've got a spyware squatter, don't muck about – get on the blower to the pros or buzz Access Now's Digital Security Helpline for a nudge in the right direction.

7. Use Advanced Security Features: Flip the switch on Jobs' Mob's Lockdown Mode to batten the hatches and keep the digital nasties at bay.

8. Buy a proper phone which does not have a piece of fruit on the back.


Last modified on 07 May 2024
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