Apple Just Released Emergency Security Update, Users Urged To Download Immediately
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.
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’.
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.
This tool, which was developed by NSO Group, is capable of defeating security systems designed by Apple, which has since fixed the vulnerability.
In a statement given to Reuters, Ivan 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.
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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