Apple warns iPhone users in 92 countries of extremely advanced cyberattack; What to do if you get spyware warning? - Hindustan Times
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Apple warns iPhone users in 92 countries of extremely advanced cyberattack; What to do if you get spyware warning?

ByShweta Kukreti
Apr 11, 2024 10:53 PM IST

Apple has warned iPhones users in 92 countries, including India, of an extremely advanced cyberattack. It informed targeted users in about the attack via email.

Apple has issued an alert of extremely advanced cyberattack to iPhones users in 92 countries, including India.

Apple has warned iPhones users in 92 countries, including India, of an extremely advanced cyberattack.(Pixabay)
Apple has warned iPhones users in 92 countries, including India, of an extremely advanced cyberattack.(Pixabay)

Apple, the parent corporation, on Wednesday updated its guidelines about extremely sophisticated device intrusion and informed targeted users in an email that hackers sought to “remotely compromise the iPhone associated with your Apple ID -xxx”.

Despite being referred to as "mercenary attacks," hackers don't target users in order to obtain personal information like bank account numbers. They prefer to target well-known people, including politicians, journalists and diplomats, because of who they are or what they do, said Apple in its new guidelines.

Apple claimed that mercenary spyware attacks are "more complex than regular cybercriminal activity and consumer malware" and that they are constantly changing due to their unusual funding.

“The extreme cost, sophistication and worldwide nature of mercenary spyware attacks makes them some of the most advanced digital threats in existence today," the alert reads.

"Although it’s never possible to achieve absolute certainty when detecting such attacks, Apple has high confidence in this warning—please take it seriously.”

Even though the latest warning does away with the word "state-sponsored", the tech giant nevertheless states that these attacks "have historically been associated with state actors" . Reuters noted that Apple came under fire last fall for an incident involving the Indian government and its opposition leaders.

A proxy may also be utilised on behalf of a country at other times.

Apple has warned people in at least 150 countries since 2021 about the possibility that their devices may be hit by “exceptionally well funded” attacks.

Also Read: Apple's major milestone: Company now makes 1 in 7 iPhones in India as output hits $14 billion

Here's what to do if you get iPhone spyware warning

Apple has released a growing number of iOS updates in the past few years to fix security flaws that may have been exploited by spyware attacks. It has issued emergency security updates, particularly in cases where assaults are already leveraging an iPhone vulnerability.

The reason spyware attacks are so terrifying is that the malware can be distributed using a "zero-click attack," meaning an iPhone user doesn't need to interact with the attack. For instance, a malicious image can be sent via WhatsApp or iMessage .

If successful, these kinds of attacks against iPhone spyware give opponents total control over the device. Following this, hackers get access to everything on the iPhone's screen. They can read your emails, listen in to your calls and even use apps like Signal and WhatsApp.

If you have received a notification from Apple, you can get in touch with Amnesty International's Security Lab, a human rights group, that provides digital forensic assistance to journalists, activists, human rights defenders, and members of civil society who are facing a threat.

Also Read: Is it possible to keep data hidden from Apple on iPhones? ‘Virtually impossible’, experts warn

“If you are a member of civil society, and you have received an Apple notification, you can contact us and request forensic support using our Get Help form,” according to a notice on Amnesty International’s website.

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