In the early hours of Tuesday, a group of Indian parliamentarians, including Priyanka Chaturvedi, Mahua Moitra, Shashi Tharoor, and Congress’ Head of Media and Publicity, Pawan Khera, took to Twitter to share screenshots. These screenshots revealed Apple’s alarming notification, cautioning them about the potential of state-sponsored attacks targeting their iPhones.Apple issued a warning to the opposition leaders via both SMS and email. The SMS notification stated, “Your iPhone may be the target of state-sponsored attackers. Apple has reason to believe that individuals from state-sponsored entities are attempting to gain remote access to the iPhone linked to your Apple ID”. Apple’s message emphasized that these potential attackers were likely singling out individuals due to their identity or activities. In the event of a compromise by state-sponsored attackers, there could be a risk of remote access to sensitive data, communications, and even the camera and microphone on the device. However, Apple also acknowledged the possibility that this warning might turn out to be a false alarm.
It marks the second instance where Apple has issued such notifications, alerting users to the potential threat of a state-sponsored attack. Back in 2021, both Apple and Google had dispatched warning messages to users worldwide, including those in India, expressing concern that their devices might have been compromised remotely as a result of an attack linked to Pegasus, a spyware developed by the Israeli company NSO.
On its support page, Apple clarifies that these threat notifications are intended to provide information and aid to users who might be under the crosshairs of state-sponsored attackers.
The company goes on to explain that, unlike conventional cybercriminals, state-sponsored attackers deploy significant resources to focus on a very limited number of individuals and their devices. This targeted approach makes such attacks considerably more challenging to identify and thwart, according to Apple’s support page.