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Apple announces it will notify users whose iPhones have been hijacked by spyware


Apple says it will notify users whose iPhones and devices have been compromised by state-sponsored hacking efforts, according to a support document.

The tech giant last week published plans to notify victims of the hack after Apple sued Israeli company NSO Group, claiming it broke U.S. law by selling spyware to hack iPhones.

When Apple detects that a user has been targeted by a state sponsored hack, it will send an iMessage and email to the registered addresses, and a threat notification will appear when the user logs into the. Apple ID, Apple said.

“These users are individually targeted because of who they are or what they do,” Apple said in the support document. “Unlike traditional cybercriminals, state-sponsored attackers apply exceptional resources to target a very small number of specific individuals and their devices, making these attacks much more difficult to detect and prevent.

“State-sponsored attacks are very complex, cost millions of dollars to develop, and often have a short lifespan,” Apple said. “The vast majority of users will never be the target of such attacks.”

Apple did not respond to requests for comment.

Apple made the announcement as it filed a lawsuit against NSO Group, which has long insisted it only lease its technology to legitimate governments to hunt down criminals and uphold laws and interests.

“Apple’s notification of spy victims is starting to reveal what a real horror show NSO Group services have facilitated,” Ron Deibert of the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab said in an email.

“We are now learning that many individuals are neither terrorists nor criminals, but journalists, students, members of the legitimate political opposition and other members of civil society around the world whose phones have been hacked. by governments using Pegasus, “he wrote.

“This abuse is not surprising given that there is no international control over spyware companies like NSO Group,” he wrote. “Company executives are truly, as Apple rightly pointed out in their legal complaint,” amoral mercenaries of the 21st century. “

NBC News reported in 2017 that Pegasus had been used to target prominent journalists, lawyers, anti-corruption activists and government officials, according to a study released by the Citizen Lab.

The Saudi government and its close ally the United Arab Emirates are believed to have targeted three women who spoke out against it: a Lebanese broadcaster, a Saudi horseman and an Emirati human rights activist, NBC News reported in August.

The Biden administration limited the NSO Group’s access to U.S. components and technology this month by requiring clearance for exports.


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