Apple Issues Threat Notifications to Indian Users Over Pegasus Spyware Concerns

Apple has issued new threat notifications to users in India and 91 other countries, alerting them to potential attacks on their iPhones by “mercenary spyware,” including the controversial Pegasus malware developed by the Israeli NSO Group.

The recent wave of attacks has not been attributed to any specific entity by Apple. Last October, similar notifications were sent to Opposition leaders in India, including Shashi Tharoor, Raghav Chadha, and Mahua Moitra, warning of a “potential state-sponsored spyware attack.”

Despite government pressure, Apple clarified that it does not attribute the threat notifications to any particular state-sponsored attacker.

The threat notifications were emailed to affected users in India around 12:30 am IST on Thursday, April 11. The exact number of recipients is unclear.

The email highlights the use of NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware and warns of ongoing global targeting using such tools.

Apple advises users to exercise caution with links and attachments from unknown or unexpected senders.

The company states it cannot provide further details on the cause of the threat notifications to prevent spyware attackers from adapting their behavior to evade detection.

Apple has updated its support page to provide guidance for users potentially targeted by mercenary spyware attacks.

These threat notifications have been issued by Apple since 2021, reaching individuals in 150 countries. In the previous year, at least 20 Indian iPhone users received them.

In 2021, the Supreme Court of India formed a committee of technical experts to investigate allegations of unauthorized surveillance using Pegasus software.

The committee found no evidence of spyware on 29 examined mobile phones but detected malware on five devices.

Apple references public reporting and research by various organizations indicating that individually targeted attacks like these are typically associated with state actors or private companies, such as NSO Group, which develop mercenary spyware. These attacks often target journalists, activists, politicians, and diplomats.

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