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Apple issues urgent iPhone software update to address critical spyware vulnerability for iMessage – Fresno, California

Fresno, California 2021-09-14 05:28:28 –

Philadelphia-Apple has updated its software for the iPhone to address a critical vulnerability that independent researchers have exploited by infamous surveillance software to spy on Saudi activists.

Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab have used software exploits since February in spyware created by the Israeli company NSO Group, which allegedly used to monitor journalists and human rights defenders in multiple countries. He said it was used to deploy a Pegasus.

According to Citizen Lab, an emergency update released by Apple on Monday closes a hole in iMessage software that allows hackers to break into a user’s phone without clicking on the user’s link. According to Citizen Lab, Saudi activists have chosen to remain anonymous.

Apple acknowledged the credit of Citizen Lab researchers for discovering this vulnerability.

“Attackes like the one described are very sophisticated, cost millions of dollars to develop, often have short shelf life, and are used to target specific individuals.” , Ivan Krsi, Head of Apple Security Engineering and Architecture, said in a statement.

Apple quickly addressed the issue with a software fix, Krsti said, and said the vulnerability was “not a threat to the overwhelming majority of users.”

Still, security experts advised users to update their mobile devices for protection.

In a statement, NSO Group did not address this claim, simply stating that “NSO Group will continue to provide intelligence and law enforcement agencies around the world with life-saving technology to combat terrorism and crime.”

The company previously stated that its software is only sold to customers who have been scrutinized for counterterrorism and law enforcement purposes.

However, researchers say they have found multiple cases of spyware being deployed to dissidents and journalists. In 2019, Citizen Lab analysts claimed that Pegasus was used on the mobile phone of the wife of a murdered Mexican journalist.

In a proceeding filed in 2019, Facebook accused NSO Group of being involved in hacking 1,400 mobile devices using WhatsApp. (NSO Group disputed the claims at the time.)

With the proliferation of easy-to-use mobile hacking tools, governments around the world have gained a new stealth tool for targeting their enemies. Sophisticated spyware manufactured by NSO Group and other vendors is reportedly used from Uzbekistan to Morocco.

Due to the surge in spyware, in August the United Nations Commission on Human Rights began demanding a moratorium on the sale of such surveillance tools. The UN Commission said the ban should continue until the government “introduces strong regulations that guarantee use in compliance with international human rights standards.”

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