Apple issues global alerts on Pegasus spyware, including to users in India

PoliCharcha | Updated: April 11, 2024, 10:02 AM

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Apple issues global alerts on Pegasus spyware, including to users in India

Tech giant Apple has recently issued a series of alerts to users in 91 countries, including India, warning them about the risks posed by 'mercenary spyware' like the infamous Pegasus malware, which has been at the centre of controversy in recent times.

These new notifications, also sent to users in India, are part of Apple's proactive measures to caution users about potential threats to their privacy and data security.

Back in October 2023, Apple had sent a similar alert to political figures across different parties in India, including Shashi Tharoor from the Congress, Raghav Chadha from the Aam Aadmi Party, and Mahua Moitra from the Trinamool Congress. The alert raised concerns about a "potential state-sponsored spyware attack" targeting their iPhones.

This heightened alert comes in the wake of ongoing scrutiny regarding the Pegasus software developed by the Israeli firm NSO Group. In 2021, the Supreme Court had formed a committee of technical experts to investigate allegations of unauthorised surveillance using Pegasus.

In August 2022, the committee appointed by the Supreme Court reported that while no evidence of the spyware was found in 29 mobile phones examined, malware was discovered in five of them.

Apple's recent notification highlights findings from public reports and research by civil society organisations, tech firms, and journalists. These findings suggest that individually targeted attacks of significant cost and complexity, often associated with state actors and private companies like NSO Group, continue to pose a global threat.

Since 2021, Apple has been actively sending out threat notifications multiple times a year as it detects these attacks. So far, the company has alerted users in over 150 countries.

The tech giant emphasises the seriousness of mercenary spyware attacks, labelling them as some of the most advanced digital threats today due to their extreme cost, sophistication, and global reach. However, Apple refrains from attributing these attacks to specific entities or regions.

In addition to issuing alerts, Apple advises users to update their devices with the latest security patches and exercise caution when dealing with suspicious links or messages. They also recommend enabling Lockdown Mode as an extra layer of protection.