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April 11, 2024
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Apple warns iPhone users of mercenary spyware threats

A widespread and highly sophisticated cyberattack has rattled iPhone users across 92 countries, including India, as reported by Reuters.

Apple, the parent company, has issued a stern warning to targeted users via email, alerting them of the peril of potential remote compromises to their iPhones. On Wednesday, Apple updated its guidance regarding these instances of deeply intricate device infiltration.

Dubbed as “mercenary attacks,” these assaults do not primarily target ordinary users to pilfer bank account details or personal information. In fact, everyday individuals are rarely, if ever, the focus.

Instead, the crosshairs are aimed at a select few high-profile individuals, chosen likely for their prominence or roles. These individuals typically encompass politicians, diplomats, journalists, and activists, as outlined by Apple.

Describing the severity of the situation, Apple highlighted in its updated guidance that the extreme sophistication, cost, and global reach of these mercenary spyware attacks elevate them to being among the most advanced digital threats today.

Such attacks are markedly more intricate than conventional cybercriminal activities and consumer-grade malware, as the perpetrators behind mercenary spyware allocate exceptional resources to target a minuscule number of specific individuals and their devices.

While the latest warning refrains from explicitly mentioning “state-sponsored” attacks—following previous controversies with the Indian government and opposition leaders—Apple still indicates that these assaults “have historically been associated with state actors,” sometimes utilizing proxies on behalf of a nation.

Since 2021, users across at least 150 nations have been cautioned by Apple that their devices might have fallen victim to these “exceptionally well-funded” attacks, which have continuously evolved and improved over time.

In the event of an impact, users will receive a “Threat Notification” prominently displayed at the top of an Apple webpage after signing in with their Apple ID via appleid.apple.com. Additionally, Apple will dispatch both an email and an iMessage notification to the user’s associated phone number and email address.

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