Apple Issues Global Alert on 'Mercenary Spyware' Targeting Users

Apple Issues Global Alert on 'Mercenary Spyware' Targeting Users

In a significant move, Apple has issued a global alert to users in 92 countries, including India, warning them about potential "mercenary spyware" attacks targeting specific individuals. This alert follows previous concerns raised by Opposition leaders who suspected state-sponsored hackers were attempting to access their iPhones.

The notification, sent out late last night, emphasizes the unique complexity of mercenary spyware attacks, which are highly sophisticated and aimed at a select few individuals such as journalists, activists, politicians, and diplomats. According to Apple, these attacks are orchestrated by well-funded entities and can cost millions of dollars to execute.

The tech giant highlighted the association of such attacks with state actors and private companies, citing examples like Pegasus from the NSO Group. Pegasus had sparked controversy in 2021 amid allegations of snooping on political figures. Although a Supreme Court panel did not find the spyware on the complainants' phones, concerns about targeted surveillance persisted.

Apple's notification advises users to take immediate steps if they suspect they've been individually targeted. This includes enabling "Lockdown Mode" on their devices, updating to the latest iOS version, and seeking expert assistance from organizations like Access Now's Digital Security Helpline.

The alert underscores the ongoing global nature of these attacks, which exploit various communication channels to trick users into clicking malicious links or opening attachments. Apple urges caution when dealing with unexpected or unknown messages.

In response to these threats, Apple is leveraging its internal intelligence and investigations to issue high-confidence threat notifications to affected users. The company stresses the seriousness of these alerts and the need for proactive measures to protect against sophisticated digital threats.

Users who have not received a direct threat notification but suspect they may be targeted are encouraged to activate Lockdown Mode as an added precaution. Additionally, changing passwords for sensitive accounts accessed on affected devices is recommended to mitigate potential credential theft.

Apple's proactive stance on combating mercenary spyware reflects the evolving landscape of cyber threats and the company's commitment to safeguarding user privacy and security on a global scale.

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