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Apple has released a software patch to fix a security vulnerability that researchers say could allow hackers to directly infect iPhones and other Apple devices without any involvement of the owner.
In a new report, researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab said the NSO Group, an Israeli spyware company, used what is known as a “zero-click exploit” to hack the iPhone of an unnamed Saudi activist and infect his device using its flagship “Pegasus” spyware program.
“Zero-click exploit” refers to the method of the attack which requires no engagement from the targeted user. Typically, cyberattacks involve a malicious link that users unknowingly click on, thus installing malware onto their system, which can then covertly usurp information or disrupt the victim’s network.
In its “Forcedentry” attacks, which researchers said has been in use since February, NSO Group hackers were able to install Pegasus spyware onto target devices simply by sending a message or calling a phone — without any action from users themselves.
In releasing its security patch on Monday, Apple credited Citizen Lab for helping it address the issue swiftly.
Here’s how to update your Apple devices to correct the security flaw.
iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch
- Plug in your device and make sure you’re connected to the internet.
- Go to Settings General, then tap Software Update.
- Tap “Install Now.” If you see “Download and Install” instead, tap it to download the update, enter your passcode, then tap “Install Now.”
First, make sure that your Apple Watch is compatible with the latest software: watchOS 7 is compatible with Apple Watch Series 3 and later and Apple Watch SE. Upgrading to watchOS 7 requires an iPhone 6s or later running iOS 14 or later.
- Update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS.
- Make sure that your Apple Watch is at least 50 percent charged.