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New Spyware Alert Notification To Apple Users

Apple iPhone users in India and 92 other countries around the world received a spyware attack notification from the company on April 11 at 12:30 AM IST. Similar to alerts issued in the past, this notification warns of a significant intrusion potentially as hazardous as the infamous NSO Group’s Pegasus.

Apple stated, “Today’s notification is being sent to targeted users in 92 countries, and to date, we have notified users in over 150 countries in total,” including iPhone users from India. “Apple sends an email and iMessage notification to the email addresses and phone numbers associated with the user’s Apple ID,”. However, the exact number of recipients in India remains uncertain.

The email notifications received by the users read, “Apple detected that you are being targeted by a mercenary spyware attack trying to remotely compromise the iPhone associated with your Apple ID. This attack is likely targeting you specifically because of who you are or what you do,”

Apple has declined to disclose the origins of these attacks, maintaining secrecy regarding their sources. In the current instance, the email alert received by iPhone users explicitly states the following. “The extreme cost, sophistication, and worldwide nature make mercenary spyware attacks some of the most advanced digital threats today. As a result, Apple does not attribute the attacks or the notice you’re receiving to any specific attackers or geographical regions.”

The spyware alert also notes that instances of Pegasus-like spyware targeting iPhones are uncommon and are typically aimed at specific individuals with evident motives for infiltrating their devices. “Mercenary spyware attacks, such as those using Pegasus from the NSO Group, are exceptionally rare and vastly more sophisticated than regular cybercriminal activity or consumer malware.”

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The email urges affected iPhone users in the country to take immediate action, including activating lockdown mode on their devices, upgrading to the latest iOS 17.4.1 version, updating all other associated Apple devices, and refraining from engaging with messages or links from unknown sources to mitigate potential harm or data loss.

Previously, Apple has issued warnings to prominent figures in India, including opposition leaders and journalists, indicating that their iPhones may be targeted by state-sponsored attackers. The warning did not specify who the attackers could be. Federal ministers dismissed the allegations, calling them “destructive politics.”

The alert was sent out in October 2023, notifying recipients that their devices could be compromised, allowing remote access to sensitive data, communications, and even the camera and microphone.
While Apple acknowledges that it’s possible the warning may be a false alarm, it urges recipients to take it seriously.

Notable recipients of the alert include Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra, AIMIM party chief Asaduddin Owaisi, and Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor, Pawan Khera, and Supriya Shrinate.
Guidance to stay protected from cybercrimes

Here are some essential security tips for all users to safeguard against general cybercriminals and consumer malware:

Apple advises taking swift action by activating Lockdown Mode on your iPhone immediately. This can be done in Settings > Privacy & Security > Lockdown Mode. This feature, which can be enabled in just a few moments, provides the highest level of protection for users facing individual targeting by advanced digital threats.

• Keep devices updated with the latest software to ensure they have the latest security patches.
• Secure devices with a passcode.
• Utilize two-factor authentication and create a robust password for your Apple ID.
• Download apps exclusively from the trusted App Store.
• Employ strong, distinct passwords for online accounts.
• Exercise caution and avoid clicking on links or attachments from unfamiliar senders.

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