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Apple issues alert on hired spyware threat

Apple has issued a threat notification to users around the world amid concerns that a highly sophisticated spyware-for-hire attack could target its high-profile customers.

On Wednesday (April 10), Apple released a support document explaining the warning and insisting that these threat notifications are intended to “inform and assist” those who may be threatened because of their status as journalists, activists, politicians or diplomats. Users who were targeted. The company said such attacks are “much more sophisticated” than typical cybercrime campaigns or consumer malware.

Hiring spyware, such as the infamous Pegasus tool developed by Israeli company NSO Group, is notoriously expensive and difficult to detect, and the iPhone maker said attackers deploy “special resources to target a very small number of specific individuals and their devices.” Apple stressed that the “vast majority” of its users would never be targeted by such an attack.

According to TechCrunch, users in more than 90 different countries are believed to have received the alert.

Who is behind the Apple spyware attack?

Since 2021, the trillion-dollar company has issued such warnings multiple times a year to users in a total of more than 150 countries. The company would not attribute the attacks to any specific group or region, noting that the “extreme cost, sophistication and global nature” of employing spyware make it “the most advanced digital threat in existence today.”

Apple urges those who receive threat notifications to seek expert help, such as the digital security helpline provided by the nonprofit Access Now. The tech giant also advises all users to keep their devices updated with the latest software, use strong passwords and two-factor authentication, and be wary of links and attachments from unknown sources.

Cybersecurity experts have long warned of the growing threat of mercenary spyware, as it can be used by nation-state actors and powerful shadow entities to target important individuals.

Featured Image: Ideographies

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