iphone users freak after apple warns some users being targeted for surveillance

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‘Someone is spying on my device’: iPhone users freak after Apple warns of ‘mercenary’ surveillance campaign

'Apple has high confidence in this warning—please take it seriously.'


Mikael Thalen


Posted on Apr 11, 2024

Apple alerted an unknown number of iPhone users in dozens of countries after their devices were allegedly targeted with “mercenary spyware.”

Notifications sent to iPhone owners in 92 countries warned that Apple uncovered attempts being made to “remotely comprise” their devices.

“This attack is likely targeting you specifically because of who you are or what you do,” the warning read. “Although it’s never possible to achieve absolute certainty when detecting such attacks, Apple has high confidence in this warning—please take it seriously.” 

Such attacks are often linked to private companies that produce spyware or state actors that use those surveillance tools to target journalists, diplomats, and activists. These attacks are not only sophisticated but rare as well.

“These attacks cost millions of dollars and are individually deployed against a very small number of people, but the targeting is ongoing and global,” Apple’s alert added.

The warning from Apple has spooked some iPhone users, including one redditor who alleged that he had received the notification twice.

“One message I received in August 29 2023, and the second today, I am worried because I googled their email and everything seems legit, has anyone ever had this kind of experience?” the user asked. “Should I worry about it?”

Apple first introduced threat alerts in 2021 and has since contacted targeted users in roughly 150 countries.

In response to the notification posted to Reddit, users expressed both interest and fear.

“Kinda cool that they inform you about that, but at the same time, it’s pretty scary lol,” another user said.

Many users also questioned who the Reddit user was and what they did for employment, although few answers were provided.

Further details on the alleged attacks are unknown, including what country they could have originated from, although India is said to be one of the countries. Last October, the same threat alert was sent to opposition leaders from multiple political parties in India.

While such attacks are rare, Apple does offer advice to those concerned about potential targeting. Keeping your iPhone’s software up to date and enabling Lockdown Mode, a feature that enables advanced security measures, are two of the best ways users can protect their devices.

Digital rights groups such as Access Now have also offered aid to those who received the alert.

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*First Published: Apr 11, 2024, 10:07 am CDT