Angela Lang / CNET
Apple released security updates for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac computers on Monday. This eliminates a vulnerability reportedly exploited by intrusive spyware built by Israeli security company NSO Group.
A security note from the tech giant on iOS 14.8 and iPad OS 14.8 states, “Processing maliciously created PDFs could result in arbitrary code execution. Apple is proactive about this issue. We are aware of reports of possible misuse. ” Apple has also released security updates for WatchOS 7.6.2, MacOS Big Sur 11.6, and MacOS Catalina to address this vulnerability.
This amendment, previously reported by the New York Times, is based on an investigation conducted by The Citizen Lab, a public interest cybersecurity group that discovered that Saudi activist phones were infected with NSO Group’s most famous product, Pegasus. It comes from. According to Citizen Lab, a zero-day, zero-click exploit for iMessage called ForcedEntry targeted Apple’s image rendering library and worked well for its iPhones, laptops, and Apple Watch.
Read more: Use this free tool to see if your iPhone is infected with Pegasus spyware
The University of Toronto-based Citizen Lab has determined that NSO has used the vulnerability to remotely infect the device with Pegasus spyware, adding that it believes the exploit has been in use since at least February. .. It urged all Apple users to update their operating system immediately.
“Ubiquitous chat apps have become a major target for the most sophisticated threat actors, including nation-state spyware and the mercenary spyware companies that serve them,” Citizen Lab said in a report. .. “Many chat apps, as they are currently designed, have become attractive soft targets.”
The security update was released the day before Apple unwrapped new products such as the iPad, Apple Watch, and iPhone. The company used one of its most important annual events, the Fall Deployment of Devices, to promote its security measures. Apple said privacy was “built in from the start,” and that the next version of iOS software would block trackers and prevent email monitoring, among other security measures.
Read more: Watch the iPhone 13 launch live: How to watch Apple’s events today
Apple would like to thank Citizen Lab for providing a sample of the exploit. This states that iPhone makers are not a threat to most users.
“Attackes like the one described are very sophisticated, cost millions of dollars to develop, often have a short shelf life, and are used to target specific individuals.” , Ivan Krsi, Apple’s security engineering and architectural operations performer, said in a statement. “That means it’s not a threat to the overwhelming majority of users, but we’re constantly striving to protect all our customers, constantly adding new protections to our devices and data. “
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In July, researchers found evidence of successful attempts to install Pegasus on 37 phones of activists, journalists, and businessmen. All but three devices were iPhones. Some people appear to be the target of covert surveillance through Pegasus, the software that is to be used to track criminals and terrorists. Spyware has been reported to be able to access and record text, video, photos, and web activity, as well as passively record and scrape passwords on the device.
The NSO issued a statement late Monday, not addressing Apple’s updates directly, but said it would “continue to provide intelligence and law enforcement agencies around the world with life-saving technology to combat terrorism and crime.”
The company, which licenses surveillance software to government agencies, says its Pegasus software helps authorities fight criminals and terrorists who use encryption technology to “darken”. Pegasus runs secretly on your smartphone and provides insight into what the owner is doing. Other companies offer similar software.
CEO Shalev Hulio co-founded the company in 2010. In addition to Pegasus, NSO provides other tools to identify where phones are used, protect them from drones, and mine law enforcement data to identify patterns.
NSO is also involved in other hacks, including the attention-grabbing hack of Amazon founder Jeff Bezosin 2018. That same year, Saudi dissidents sued the company for its role in hacking devices owned by journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in Saudi Arabia. Embassy of Turkey.
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