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Apple warns iPhone users in 92 countries of 'mercenary spyware' attack

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Apple sent security alerts to iPhone users in 92 countries this week, warning them that state-sponsored hackers are actively trying to compromise their devices. In notification emails seen by some media outlets, Apple said it had "high confidence" that individuals were "targeted by a mercenary spyware attack" designed to remotely access their phones.

The sophisticated attacks appeared to target specific people "because of who you are or what you do," Apple said. While the company did not name the spyware involved or attribute the attacks to any government, such mercenary software is typically only used by countries to target human rights activists, journalists, and politicians.

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 -xxx-. 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.

In the past, Apple has identified similar targeted hacking campaigns originating in China, Russia, Iran, and North African countries. This latest global alert affects iPhone owners in over 150 countries.

However, it remains unclear whether users in the United States were among those targeted this time. In its notifications, Apple said it was unable to provide more details about the attacks in order to prevent hackers from evolving their techniques.

Apple claimed "high confidence" in its analysis to encourage users to take action. "We are unable to provide more information about what caused us to send you this notification, as that may help mercenary spyware attackers adapt their behavior to evade detection in the future," the company said to iPhone users.

Nevertheless, the scale of the operation, which involved more than 90 countries across multiple continents, shows that state-sponsored hacking remains a widespread threat.

Sources: Tech Crunch, CNET

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