HomeNewsWhat Are Mercenay Spyware Attacks Apple Is Warning iPhone Users Of?

What Are Mercenay Spyware Attacks Apple Is Warning iPhone Users Of?

Apple has warned some iPhone users in 92 nations of mercenary spyware attacks that could be conducted on their devices.

Apple has issued an urgent warning to iPhone users in 92 countries about a series of sophisticated spyware attacks. The tech giant has detected attempts to remotely compromise devices associated with users’ Apple IDs. As a result, Apple has taken swift action to safeguard its customers. This development is significant for cybersecurity and highlights the importance of taking precautions to protect personal information.

What Are Mercenary Spyware Attacks?

In an email notification sent to potentially affected iPhone users, Apple states that mercenary spyware attacks, like those using Pegasus software from the NSO Group in Israel, are not common and are much more sophisticated than regular cybercriminal activity or consumer malware. The company said in a statement that these attacks cost millions of dollars and are targeted at a very small number of individuals, but the targeting is ongoing and global.

The notification further read, “Apple detected that you are being targeted by a mercenary spyware attack that is trying to remotely compromise the iPhone associated with your Apple ID -xxx-. This attack is likely targeting you specifically because of who you are or what you do. Although it’s never possible to achieve absolute certainty when detecting such attacks, Apple has high confidence in this warning — please take it seriously.”

The threat notification emails were sent at around 12.30 am IST on Thursday to impacted users in India. However, it is unclear how many people have received the threat notification from Apple.

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How To Safeguard Yourself From Such An Attack?

The Californian smartphone maker also advised users to stay aware regarding any kind of unknown links they receive on their device and tells users not to click on them. In addition, it outlined steps for the users to safeguard themselves by updating their iPhone software to the latest version or enable the lockdown mode which is claimed to be the ultimately secure feature for protecting the data.

However, Apple stated that it could not disclose further details about the cause of the threat notification. This decision was made to prevent mercenary spyware attackers from adjusting their tactics to avoid detection in the future.

Apple began issuing these threat notifications in 2021, and individuals in 150 countries have received them since then. Last year, when the notification was sent in October 2023, at least 20 iPhone users in India received it. Apple, at the time, notified users of a “state-sponsored” attack on their iPhones but later clarified that it wasn’t by any state-sponsored attacker when opposed by the Indian government.

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