Apple will issue a warning to iPhone, iPad, and Mac users about state-sponsored espionage attacks. The notification will be sent to you via email or text message.
Zero-click attacks, like the well-known Pegasus spyware, are dangerous because users are unaware of them and thus unable to defend themselves. The tech giant is now preparing to better protect its users from such attacks by informing those who have been attacked.
Apple will send a threat notification warning to users who have been targeted via mail and Message, according to a new support document. At the same time, the user’s Apple ID page at appleid.apple.com will display the same warning.
Such reports, according to Apple, will include recommendations on how affected users can protect themselves from attack.
Apple warns that some threat notifications from Apple may be false alarms, and that some attacks may go undetected. “We are unable to provide information about what causes us to issue threat notifications, as that may help state-sponsored attackers adapt their behavior to evade detection in the future,” Apple adds.
Apple warns that attackers may try to take advantage of the new attack notifications. The company emphasizes that it will not send links, files, system profiles, or apps in these emails or Messages, so do not click on them if you receive such messages.
If you receive such a notification, it’s a good idea to check it in a browser on another device by logging into your Apple ID account, which will also show you the threat.
Apple sues NSO Group for Pegasus spyware
Apple sued NSO Group and its parent company on Tuesday, alleging that the Israeli firm broke a federal anti-hacking law by selling powerful software that clients used to spy on Apple customers.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in California, claims that NSO’s spyware, known as Pegasus, and other malware have cost Apple money and property, as well as infringed on Apple users’ human rights.
NSO Group did not respond to the specifics of the lawsuit in a statement released Tuesday, instead stating that its technology saves lives.
While the NSO Group has long claimed that its software is only sold to authorized users for law enforcement and counterterrorism purposes, researchers have long suspected that Pegasus has been used to monitor dissidents and human rights activists.
In September, researchers from the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab claimed that an unidentified party was spying on a Saudi activist using Pegasus and a vulnerability in Apple’s operating system.
Apple is at least the second major US tech company to file a lawsuit against NSO Group. NSO Group was sued by Facebook (now known as Meta) in 2019 for allegedly facilitating the hacking of 1,400 phones running the WhatsApp messaging app.
NSO Group has denied Facebook’s allegations and attempted to stop the case from proceeding. However, a US appeals court ruled earlier this month that the lawsuit could proceed.
NSO Group is one of a number of companies that sell specialized hacking tools for breaking into various types of mobile phones.