Apple Alerts iPhone Users of ‘Mercenary Attack,’ What You Should Know

Apple sent iPhone security alerts to people in 92 countries on Wednesday, warning them that their iPhones had been remotely targeted in a mercenary spyware attack.

“Apple has detected that you are the target of a mercenary spyware attack,” the company said in a threat notification email seen by CNET. “This attack is likely targeting you specifically because of who you are or what you do.”

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Mercenary attacks, compared to cybercrime or consumer malware, are distinguished by their rarity and complexity. These meticulously orchestrated attacks cost millions of dollars and target a small number of people. Targeting is ongoing and global, the company said in the email.

“If your device is compromised by a targeted mercenary spyware attack, the attacker will be able to remotely access your sensitive data, communications, and even camera and microphone,” the threat notification email states .

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The news was first reported by Indian business publication The Economic Times, which said India was one of the affected countries. It’s unclear whether iPhone owners in the United States were targeted; An Apple spokesperson had no comment beyond what was shared in the notification email.

In a help page published Wednesday, the company offers advice on what to do if you receive a threat notification.

“We strongly suggest seeking expert help, such as the rapid-response emergency security assistance provided by the nonprofit Access Now’s Digital Security Helpline.” , Apple said. “Recipients of Apple threat notifications can contact the Digital Security Helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week through their website.”

The company also referred to Pegasus, sophisticated spyware developed by Israeli group NSO, when informing the population of the latest mercenary attack.

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In November 2021, Apple filed a lawsuit against NSO Group to hold it responsible for monitoring and targeting Apple users using Pegasus. This spyware had previously infected victims’ devices, including iPhones, without warning the user. Since 2016, cyber observers have discovered several instances where Pegasus was used by various entities to monitor journalists, lawyers, political dissidents and human rights activists.

Learn more: How to check if your iPhone has NSO Group software

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