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Apple Just Released Emergency Security Update, Users Urged To Download Immediately

by : Julia Banim on : 14 Sep 2021 11:46
Apple Just Released Emergency Security Update, Users Urged To Download ImmediatelyPA Images

Apple has just released an emergency software update, and users have been urged to get it downloaded immediately.

This comes after security researchers discovered a worrying flaw allowing invasive spyware from Israeli technology firm NSO Group to infect iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches or MacBook without even the need to click.

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In a statement given to Reuters, NSO Group neither confirmed nor denied being behind the technique, stating that it would ‘continue to provide intelligence and law enforcement agencies around the world with life-saving technologies to fight terror and crime’.

iPhones will be scanned for abusive material. (Pexels)Pexels

Security experts at Apple have reportedly been working non-stop since Tuesday to find a solution, after researchers at the University of Toronto’s cybersecurity watchdog organization Citizen Lab found that a Saudi activist’s iPhone had been infected using an advanced form of NSO spyware.

This vulnerability is reportedly particularly worrying as it doesn’t require any user interaction. It’s also understood to affect all versions of Apple’s iOS, OSX, and watchOS, apart from those that have been updated as of Monday.

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This tool, which was developed by NSO Group, is capable of defeating security systems designed by Apple, which has since fixed the vulnerability.

New iPhone safety update to be rolled out (PA Images)PA Images

In a statement given to ReutersIvan Krstić, Apple’s head of Security Engineering and Architecture, said:

After identifying the vulnerability used by this exploit for iMessage, Apple rapidly developed and deployed a fix in iOS 14.8 to protect our users.

Attacks like the ones described are highly sophisticated, cost millions of dollars to develop, often have a short shelf life, and are used to target specific individuals.

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Krstić continued, ‘While that means they are not a threat to the overwhelming majority of our users, we continue to work tirelessly to defend all our customers, and we are constantly adding new protections for their devices and data.’

As reported by The New York Times, the spyware, known as Pegasus, can infect Apple devices without any detection, and can switch on users’ mics, cameras and access messages, even those sent using encrypted messaging.

Citizen Lab stated that the unknown activist’s phone had become infected back in February. Although it’s not known how many other users could have been infected, it’s believed that more than 1.65 billion Apple products across the world have been vulnerable since at least last March.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Technology, Apple, Cyber Security, no-article-matching, Tech

Credits

Reuters and 1 other
  1. Reuters

    Cyber arms dealer exploits new iPhone software vulnerability, affecting most versions, say researchers

  2. The New York Times

    Apple Issues Emergency Security Updates to Close a Spyware Flaw