New Delhi: A day after Apple sued NSO Group, an Israeli spyware maker and developer of Pegasus, and said it will notify users affected by state-sponsored spyware attacks, the iPhone maker has started sending warnings to victims in Thailand, Uganda and Salvadore.
The Pegasus spyware, made by Israeli spyware maker NSO Group, is allegedly designed to let governments remotely access a phone’s microphones, cameras, and other data on both iPhones as well as Androids.
The iPhone maker has sent warning messages to at least six activists and researchers who have been critical of Thailand's government. The alert issues to them mentioned that their iPhones had been targeted by 'state-sponsored attackers', according to a report by news agency Reuters.
In Salvadore, Apple has sent alerts to at least 23 journalists, including some at the investigative news outlet El Faro and newspapers Diario El Mundo, El Diario de Hoy, La Prensa Gráfica, of 'possible spying' on part of the Salvadorean government.
"When you wake up to a threat notification from @Apple that your iPhone is being targeted then you know that cyber terrorism from state-sponsored cyber terrorists is real," Norbert Mao, the president of the Democratic Party in Uganda, tweeted late on Wednesday.
The alert issued by the iPhone maker warned that the company believes 'you are being targeted by state-sponsored attackers who are trying to remotely compromise the iPhone associated with your Apple ID'.
The alert from Apple further read: "These attackers are likely targeting you individually because of who you are or what you do. If your device is compromised by a state-sponsored attacker, they may be able to remotely access your sensitive data, communications, or even the camera and microphone. While it's possible this is a false alarm, please take this warning seriously."
Cupertino, California-based Apple has sued Israeli spyware maker NSO Group and its parent company, in an attempt to block the spyware from using any of its technology and to stop any further harm to iPhone users globally. The lawsuit has been filed by Apple against NSO Group and its parent company to hold it accountable for the surveillance and targeting of Apple users. The complaint provides new information on how NSO Group infected victims’ devices with its Pegasus spyware, according to the iPhone maker.
The spyware is also allegedly designed to be able to infect phones without requiring any action from the user and without leaving a trace, several reports had said.
“State-sponsored actors like the NSO Group spend millions of dollars on sophisticated surveillance technologies without effective accountability. That needs to change,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, had said in a statement late on Tuesday.