Apple warns of Pegasus-like attack on politicians, scribes triggered by missed call on WhatsApp : The Tribune India

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Apple warns of Pegasus-like attack on politicians, scribes triggered by missed call on WhatsApp

Apple warns of Pegasus-like attack on politicians, scribes triggered by missed call on WhatsApp


PTI

New Delhi, April 11

iPhone manufacturer Apple has warned its users about ongoing Pegasus-like sophisticated spyware attacks targeting a very small number of individuals, including journalists, activists, politicians and diplomats.

Controlling phone just via missed call

  • Spyware can control mobile phones merely by giving a missed call on WhatsApp
  • Alert comes at a time when around 60 nations, including India, are going to the polls
  • Apple has told notified users to protect their device by enabling lockdown mode

Though deployed against a small number of individuals and often involving exceptional costs, mercenary spyware attacks are “ongoing and global”, according to an Apple threat notification. Issued on April 10, the notification indicated that such attacks had historically been associated with state actors, as per past research and reports.

“Apple threat notifications are designed to inform and assist users who may have been individually targeted by mercenary spyware attacks, likely because of who they are or what they do. 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,” the notification said.

The notification has come at a time when around 60 countries, including India, are going for elections this year. The Cupertino-based firm said that mercenary spyware attacks cost millions of dollars and are difficult to detect and prevent. Besides, the vast majority of users will never be targeted by such attacks.

“According to public reporting and research by civil society organisations, technology firms and journalists, individually targeted attacks of such exceptional cost and complexity have historically been associated with state actors, including private companies developing mercenary spyware on their behalf, such as Pegasus from the NSO Group,” the notification said.

Apple said that the extreme cost, sophistication and worldwide nature of mercenary spyware attacks make them some of the most advanced digital threats in existence today. The iPhone maker has recommended notified users to protect their device by enabling lockdown mode.

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