The world’s largest technology company, Apple, recently put out an emergency software update that urged product owners to download it as soon as possible.
This declaration came after security researchers found out that there is a disturbing flaw that would allow intrusive spyware from an Israeli technology firm to infect Apple Watches, MacBooks, iPads, and iPhones without having to click anything.
According to a statement given to Reuters, the group didn’t confirm nor deny being responsible for the technique. It said that it would continue efforts to “provide intelligence and law enforcement agencies around the world” with technology to fight against “terror and crime”.
Since Tuesday, Apple’s security experts report that they have been working tirelessly to find a solution after researchers at the University of Toronto’s cybersecurity organization City Lab discovered that a Saudi Arabian activist’s iPhone had allegedly been bugged with an advanced spyware code.
This issue is particularly concerning because it does not necessitate any user engagement. Apart from those that have been updated as of Monday, it is thought to affect all versions of Apple’s iOS, OSX, and watchOS.
This tool, which the group reportedly developed, is capable of circumventing Apple’s security mechanisms, which have subsequently been patched.
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“After identifying the vulnerability used by this exploit for iMessage, Apple rapidly developed and deployed a fix in iOS 14.8 to protect our users,” said Ivan Krstić, the head of Security Engineering and Architecture at Apple in a statement to Reuters.
“Attacks like the ones described are highly sophisticated, cost millions of dollars to develop, often have a short shelf life, and are used to target specific individuals.”
In a report from The New York Times, Pegasus, a form of spyware, can corrupt Apple devices without being noticed, turning on microphones, cameras and intercepting messages, including those sent via encrypted messaging.
Citizen Lab noted that the unnamed activist’s phone was infected in February. Although it’s unclear how many more consumers may have been affected, it’s estimated that more than 1.65 billion Apple gadgets have been vulnerable since last March.