iPhone Users Targeted by Mercenary Spyware Attacks in 98 Regions

Apple has issued a security alert to iPhone users in a staggering 98 countries, warning them about potential “mercenary spyware attacks.” These attacks aim to steal personal data from iPhones and could target anyone, from activists to journalists.

While iPhones are known for their security, there’s an ongoing battle between Apple and companies developing spyware to exploit vulnerabilities in these devices. One such spyware, Pegasus by NSO Group, can gain access to almost everything on an iPhone – just by sending a message, even if the recipient doesn’t open it.

NSO Group reportedly sells this spyware to governments, some with concerning human rights records. These governments often target activists, journalists, and political figures.

Apple Fights Back: Detecting Attacks and Alerting Users

Apple constantly works to patch vulnerabilities as soon as they’re discovered. But in the meantime, they also try to detect compromised iPhones and warn the owners. This is done by sending alerts to potentially targeted users, even if Apple doesn’t know exactly how the attackers gained access.

Earlier this year, Apple shifted from calling these attacks “state-sponsored” to “mercenary spyware attacks.” This latest warning reached iPhone users in a massive 98 countries.

The message from Apple warns users that they are being targeted by a “mercenary spyware attack” and urges them to take the warning seriously. While Apple can’t be absolutely certain, they have high confidence in their detection methods.

Protecting Yourself: Lockdown Mode is Your Friend

Apple typically recommends enabling “Lockdown Mode” on iPhones that receive such warnings. Lockdown Mode is a special security feature that strengthens iPhone defenses against these types of attacks.

While Apple keeps the details of their detection methods under wraps, it’s likely that iPhones run regular checks on their security systems. If a check fails, Apple is alerted and can then warn the iPhone owner. This allows them to take action before the attackers can steal any data.

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Nayab Khan

Nayab Khan is a freelance tech-writer whose specialty is absorbing the key data and articulating the most important points. She helps IT based organizations communicate their message clearly across multiple channels.

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