Excerpt from NDTV article, Published on Apr 11, 2024

Amid growing concerns over digital security, Apple has issued a widespread alert to users across 92 countries, including India, regarding the threat of “mercenary spyware.” This alert, sent out late last night, underscores the complexity and targeted nature of such cyberattacks. The notification, aimed at informing and assisting users who may have been individually targeted, references the notorious Pegasus spyware, which sparked controversy in 2021 over allegations of surveillance on opposition leaders. While the NSO Group, the developer of Pegasus, claimed its clients are vetted governments and agencies, concerns persist regarding the potential abuse of such tools.

Apple’s statement emphasizes that mercenary spyware attacks, typically associated with state actors and private companies, target specific individuals, such as journalists, activists, politicians, and diplomats. These attacks, characterized by their sophistication and high cost, pose significant challenges in detection and prevention.

The company detailed its notification process, which includes displaying a Threat Notification upon user sign-in and sending email and iMessage alerts to associated Apple ID contacts. Additionally, users are advised to enable “Lockdown Mode” for enhanced protection and urged to update their devices to the latest iOS version.

Furthermore, Apple recommends vigilance against suspicious links and attachments, as some attacks may rely on social engineering tactics to deceive users. Users who suspect targeting, even in the absence of a threat notification, are encouraged to take precautionary measures, including password changes and seeking assistance from digital security experts. In response to these evolving threats, Apple underscores the importance of collaboration between users and security professionals to mitigate risks effectively. As concerns over digital privacy persist, proactive measures and heightened awareness remain critical to safeguarding against malicious cyber activities.


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