Apple alerts iPhone users about mercenary spyware threat

The spyware alerts come as many countries prepare for elections. Apple emphasised that these spyware attacks are highly sophisticated and different from regular cybercriminal activities.

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Apple issued threat notifications to iPhone users in 92 countries, alerting them to potential mercenary spyware attacks on their devices. The company sent these alerts to users but did not disclose the attackers’ identities or the affected countries.

In the notifications, Apple informed users that their iPhones may be targeted by a mercenary spyware attack aiming to compromise their devices remotely. The warnings highlighted that these attacks are likely directed at specific individuals based on their identities or activities. Apple emphasised the seriousness of the threat, urging affected users to take immediate action.

These notifications are part of Apple’s ongoing efforts to safeguard users against sophisticated spyware attacks. The company has been issuing similar alerts multiple times each year since 2021, reaching users in over 150 countries. Last October, Apple sent identical warnings to journalists and politicians in India, coinciding with reports of Israeli spyware Pegasus detected on iPhones belonging to prominent figures.

Why does it matter?

These spyware alerts emerge amidst heightened concerns over global state-sponsored efforts to influence elections. While many tech firms have cautioned about such threats, Apple’s notifications did not specifically address the timing of election cycles. Apple stressed that these mercenary spyware attacks, like those involving the NSO Group’s Pegasus, are rare and significantly more sophisticated than typical cybercriminal activity or consumer malware.