Apple issues new spyware attack warning to iPhone users

Apple issues new spyware attack warning to iPhone users

Apple has issued a new spyware attack warning to users in 98 countries. It is the second time the iPhone maker has issued a warning of this kind in recent months. Apple issued a similar spyware warning back in April, when it warned iPhone users in 92 countries that they were being targeted by attacks.

According to a report from TechCrunch, Apple has not released much information about the recent wave of spyware attacks and it is not yet known which countries are affected. However, users in India reported receiving the new warning.

“Apple has determined that you are the target of a high-margin spyware attack that is attempting to remotely compromise the iPhone associated with your Apple ID -xxx-,” Apple wrote in its new spyware alert.

How to remove iPhone spyware

Spyware is increasingly targeting iPhones. Israeli company NSO Group’s Pegasus is one of the most well-known examples. In April, researchers at Blackberry revealed how a spyware campaign called LightSpy had made a comeback. They called LightSpy “particularly dangerous” because it can allow an attacker to locate a target with “near-perfect accuracy.”

Spyware is so dangerous because it gives attackers complete access to your iPhone, including encrypted messages on WhatsApp and Signal, as well as your audio and video data. Because it’s delivered in so-called zero-click attacks—an attacker sends a picture via iMessage, for example—and doesn’t require any interaction, spyware can be difficult to disarm.

However, Apple claims that Lockdown Mode stops spyware completely – even if it does affect your iPhone’s functionality. At the same time, you can sometimes tell that spyware is present on your device if it slows down or you see apps that you didn’t install.

If you suspect there is spyware on your device, experts say the best thing to do is to ditch the iPhone altogether. For an immediate effect, some, including the NSA, say turning the device off and on again can temporarily turn off the spyware.

It’s also important to note that not everyone is affected by spyware attacks, so regular iPhone users don’t need to panic, but if you’re a dissident, journalist, or work in an affected sector, you need to take extra measures to stay safe.

Spyware is “still very rare” for the average user, says Suzan Sakarya, senior manager of EMEIA security strategy at security company Jamf. “Based on Apple’s report, this spyware campaign was another targeted attack targeting people with valuable access rights or contacts.”

If you may be affected by spyware, Amnesty International has some helpful tips for potential victims.

As a general rule, always be careful about the apps you download and make sure you install iPhone updates as soon as Apple releases them.

You can check if your iPhone is up to date by going to Settings > General > Software Update and manually downloading and installing the latest iOS software.