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Apple warns users in over 90 countries on mercenary spyware attacks

Apple warned users in 92 countries they might have been potential victims of “mercenary spyware attacks”, according to a threat notification email sent to targeted users.

Attackers tried to compromise the iPhone, according to the email seen by Reuters. These attacks are more sophisticated and specifically targeted instead of being regular cybercriminal activity or malware.

The full warning said:

Apple detected that you are being targeted by a mercenary spyware attack that is trying to remotely compromise the iPhone associated with your Apple ID.
This attack is likely targeting you specifically because of who you are or what you do. Although it’s never possible to achieve absolute certainty when detecting such attacks, Apple has high confidence in this warning — please take it seriously.

This warning arrives just days before the general election begins in India, and many other nations are also preparing to vote in the following weeks and months. Apple said it could not provide information about what caused the notification, as it might help mercenary spyware attackers adapt their behavior to evade detection in the future.

 Apple warns users in over 90 countries on mercenary spyware attacks

“Mercenary spyware attack” is the new name Apple uses for a specific threat that was previously called a “state-sponsored attack”. According to the company’s support page, these criminals apply “exceptional resources to target a very small number of specific individuals and their devices”.

The support page states that such attacks are highly complex, cost “millions of dollars” to develop and implement and have a short shelf life; the vast majority of users will never be targeted by such attacks.

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