Apple recently updated its software for iPhone to combat a critical vulnerability that exploited due to a notorious surveillance software to spy on an activist of Saudi Arabia. According to the researchers from the Citizen Lab of the University of Toronto, the surveillance software activity has been active since February to deploy Pegasus. NSO Group Technologies, a firm of Israel, made the spyware allegedly used to spy on human rights advocates and journalists in several countries.
Apple issues a software fix to combat spyware allegedly used to spy on Saudi activist: Researchers from the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab said the software exploit has been in use since February and has been used to deploy Pegasus, the spyware made by Israeli firm NSO… pic.twitter.com/WYid8N1xPM
— King Tri-Zi (@KingTriZi) September 13, 2021
On Monday, the firm released the urgent update, and it plugged a hole in the iMessage software that allowed hackers to penetrate into the smartphone of the user without the user clicking on any links. Citizen Lab said that the Saudi activist demands to remain anonymous. Apple credited the researchers of Citizen Lab for identifying the vulnerability in the iPhone. Head of Apple Security Engineering & Architecture, Ivan Krstić, stated that vulnerable attacks are highly sophisticated which cost millions of dollars to create, usually have a short shelf life to target specific people.
Security Experts Encouraged Users to Update their Devices
Krstić further added that Apple instantly solved the matter with an update of software fix and that the vulnerability is not a risk to the overwhelming majority of Apple users. However, the security experts recommended that iPhone users update their devices to ensure their security against spyware. The Israeli tech firm didn’t address the allegations in its statement and only said that NSO Group will continue to provide life-saving technologies to law enforcement and intelligence agencies across the world to combat crime and terror.
Facebook Accused NSO Group to Hack 1400 Mobile Devices
Previously, the firm said they only sold software to inspect clients for law enforcement and counterterrorism purposes. However, researchers said that they found several cases in which the spyware planted for journalists or dissenters. An analyst of Citizen Lab alleged in 2019 that Pegasus used on the smartphone of the wife of a slain Mexican journalist.
In 2019, Facebook accused NSO Group in a lawsuit that it hacked fourteen hundred smartphones using WhatsApp. On the other side, NSO Group disputed the allegation from the social media firm. Moreover, the spread of easy-to-use smartphone hacking tools has provided governments across the world with the latest and silent means of targeting rivals.
Spyware of NSO Group and other vendors reportedly used from Uzbekistan to Morocco. The rise in spyware driven a United Nations (U.N.) panel of human rights experts in August to call for a suspension on the sale of these surveillance tools. Furthermore, the panel stated that the bar should remain in place until régimes put in place strong regulations that guarantee its use in compliance with the international standards of human rights.