Boston (AP) — Apple has released an emergency software patch to fix a security vulnerability. Researchers have stated that hackers can directly infect iPhones and other Apple devices without user intervention.
NS Citizen Lab researchers at the University of Toronto said The flaw could allow spyware from NSO Group, the world’s most notorious hacker hiring company, to directly infect the iPhones of Saudi activists.
According to researchers, the flaw affected all Apple operating systems.
This was the first time a so-called “zero-click” exploit was detected and analyzed, researchers said, alerting Apple shortly after finding malicious code on September 7. They said they were confident that the Israeli company NSO Group was behind the attack, adding that the targeted activists demanded that they remain anonymous.
“We haven’t necessarily attributed this attack to the Saudi government,” said researcher Bill Marzac.
Citizen Labs previously found evidence that zero-click exploits were used to hack Al Jazeera journalists and other targeted exploits, saying, “This is the first exploit captured and its You can see how it works. ” Marzac.
According to security experts, the average iPhone, iPad, and Mac user generally doesn’t have to worry. While such attacks tend to be targeted, this discovery still surprises security professionals.
Malicious image files were sent to activist phones via the iMessage instant messaging app before being hacked by NSO’s Pegasus spyware, which opens the phone for eavesdropping and remote data theft, Marczak said. It was discovered during a second examination of the phone, which indicated that forensic medicine was infected in March. He said malicious files cause device crashes.
NSO Group did not immediately respond to emails asking for comment.
In a blog post, Apple said it is issuing security updates for iPhones and iPads because “maliciously created” PDF files can be hacked. He acknowledged that this issue could have been abused and quoted Citizen Lab. Apple didn’t immediately answer the question of whether this was the first time it had patched ZeroClick.
Citizen Lab called the iMessage exploit FORCE DENTRY and said it works for Apple iOS, MacOS and WatchOS devices.
Researcher John Scott-Railton said the news highlights the importance of protecting popular messaging apps from such attacks. “Chat apps are becoming the primary way for nation-states and mercenary hackers to access their phones,” he said. “And that’s why it’s so important to focus on making sure your company is locked down as much as possible.”
As NSO claims, NSO’s business model also reveals that it includes selling spyware to governments that abuse spyware, as well as law enforcement officers tracking cybercriminals and terrorists. I am.
“If Pegasus had only been used against criminals and terrorists, we wouldn’t have found anything like this,” Marzac said.
Facebook’s WhatsApp is also allegedly targeted by NSO’s zero-click exploit. October 2019, Facebook sued NSO in US federal court It is said to have targeted approximately 1,400 users of messaging services encrypted using spyware.
Announced by the Global Media Consortium in July Damn report The Hacker for Hire Group is directly involved in targeting how NSO Group’s clients have been spying on journalists, human rights activists, political opponents, and those close to them for years.
Amnesty International said it confirmed the success of 37 Pegasus infections based on a leaked targeting list of unknown origin.
One was involved with the fiancée of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, just four days after being killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in 2018. The CIA attributed the murder to the Saudi Arabian government.
Recent revelations have also prompted calls for an investigation into whether the Hungarian right-wing government used Pegasus to covertly monitor key journalists, lawyers and business people. The Indian parliament also protested after opposition lawmakers accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government of using NSO Group products to spy on political opponents.
France is also trying to reach the root of allegations that President Emmanuel Macron and members of his government may have been targeted in 2019 by an unidentified Moroccan security agency using Pegasus. Morocco, France’s major ally, has denied these reports and has taken legal action to counter allegations involving the Kingdom of North Africa in the spyware scandal.
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Apple Patch Abuses Exploits from Companies That Hire Hackers | Jobs
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