Apple alerts NSO phone hacking victims in Thailand, El Salvador and Uganda

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image credit: Bryce Durbin / Nerdshala

Apple has sent threat notification alerts to victims of state-sponsored hackers in Thailand, El Salvador and Uganda just hours after it filed suit against Israeli spyware maker NSO Group.

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At least six Thai activists and researchers who criticized the government have been notified Reuters, including Prajak Kongkirati, researcher Sarini Achannantakul, a political scientist at Thammasat University in Bangkok, and Yingchip Etchnont, a Thai activist from the legal watchdog group iLaw. Citizen Lab, which tracks illegal hacking and surveillance, in 2018 identified a Pegasus spyware operator operating within Thailand.

Alert — what Apple calls: Designed to inform and assist target users Many were also sent to users in El Salvador – by state-sponsored attackers. It consists of 12 employees of Electricity house, an online digital newspaper that has been notorious for having two leaders from government as well as civil society organizations and two opposition politicians.

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Norbert Mao, the president of the Democratic Party in Uganda, also said: Twitter that he had received information about the threat.

Apple’s alert warns: “Apple believes you are being targeted by state-sponsored attackers who are trying to remotely compromise the iPhone associated with your Apple ID. These attackers are targeting you personally because of who you are or what you do. If your equipment is tampered with by a state-sponsored attacker, they may be able to access your sensitive data, communications, or even the camera and microphone remotely. While it is possible that this is a false alarm, please take this warning seriously.”

Apple on Tuesday sued NSO Group, seeking a permanent injunction preventing the spyware maker from using any Apple products. This will make it more difficult for the company to detect and exploit vulnerabilities in iPhone software and hack its targets.

“The steps we’re taking today will send a clear message: It is unacceptable to weaponize powerful state-sponsored spyware against those trying to make the world a better place in a free society,” said Apple security chief Evan Kristyk. ” “Apple runs one of the most sophisticated security engineering operations in the world, and we will continue to work tirelessly to protect our users from abusive state-sponsored actors such as the NSO Group.”



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