Do you own an iPhone, an iPad, an Apple Watch, and/or a Mac computer? Apple wants you to update it now.
The tech company was recently made aware of an invasive spyware called Pegasus and developed a security update that would close this risk.
The security note for iOS 14.8 and iPadOS 14.8 says “processing a maliciously crafted PDF may lead to arbitrary code execution. Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.”
Other Apple devices may update to WatchOS 7.6.2, MacOS Big Sur 11.6, and a security update for MacOS Catalina.
A report by the New York Times revealed that Citizen Lab, a cybersecurity watchdog organization based in Canada, found an advanced form of spyware from NSO, an Israeli group. This spyware can infect an Apple product “without so much as a click.”
The report further elaborated on the feature, which is also called a “zero click remote exploit.” It’s considered the “Holy Grail of surveillance” because it “allows governments, mercenaries, and criminals to secretly break into someone’s device without tipping the victim off.”
Pegasus can switch on a smartphone’s camera and microphone, record messages and calls, and be accessed by NSO and its clients. Even messages and calls made through encrypted apps are not safe.
NSO sells its spyware to governments, but assured that they only work with those “that meet strict human rights standards.” The group also “requires customers to agree to use its spyware only to track terrorists or criminals.”
The New York Times’ recent report adds that “more than 1.65 billion Apple products in use worldwide have been vulnerable to NSO’s spyware since at least March.”
Ivan Krstić, who is part of Apple’s security engineering and architecture operations, said, “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. 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.”
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