Were Apple devices in India, other countries subjected to 'mercenary spyware attack'?

Mercenary spyware attacks are vastly more sophisticated than regular cyber-criminal activity or malware, company's email notification reads

By
Reuters
An illustration of an iPhone held up in front of the Apple Inc. logo. — AFP/File
An illustration of an iPhone held up in front of the Apple Inc. logo. — AFP/File

BENGALURU: World's leading technological company Apple has issued a warning to the people using its devices in India and 91 other countries for possibly being the victims of a "mercenary spyware attack".

The company discovered that attackers tried to "remotely compromise the iPhone", Apple said in the notification email seen by Reuters.

Mercenary spyware attacks are rare and vastly more sophisticated than regular cyber-criminal activity or malware, according to the notification email.

The iPhone-maker has sent threat notifications such as these multiple times a year since 2021, the notification email said, adding that it has notified users in more than 150 countries in total to date.

In October 2023, some Indian lawmakers shared screenshots on social media of a notification quoting the iPhone manufacturer as saying: "Apple believes you are being targeted by state-sponsored attackers who are trying to remotely compromise the iPhone associated with your Apple ID".

The company had then said it did not attribute the threat notifications to "any specific state-sponsored attacker".

Earlier this month, India Today reported that Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) issued a warning after finding a "remote code execution vulnerability” in Apple devices which were at the risk of being remotely accessed by a hacker.

The issue, according to CERT-In, affected iPhone and iPad users whose devices are on iOS and iPadOS versions prior to 17.4.1 and those whose iOs and iPad versions preceding the 16.7.7 update.