NEW YORK: A cyber surveillance company based in Israel developed a tool to break into Apple iPhones with a never-before-seen technique that has been in use since at least February, Internet security watchdog group Citizen Lab alleged on Monday.
The discovery is important because of the critical nature of the vulnerability, which requires no user interaction and affects all versions of Apple’s iOS, OSX, and watchOS, except for those updated on Monday.
The tool allegedly developed by the NSO Group defeats security systems designed by Apple in recent years. Apple said it fixed the vulnerability in Monday’s software update.
“After identifying the vulnerability used by this exploit for iMessage, Apple rapidly developed and deployed a fix in iOS 14.8 to protect our users,” said Mr Ivan Krstic, head of Apple Security Engineering and Architecture.
“Attacks like the ones described are highly sophisticated, cost millions of dollars to develop, often have a short shelf life, and are used to target specific individuals. While that means they are not a threat to the overwhelming majority of our users, we continue to work tirelessly to defend all our customers…” he added.
NSO did not confirm or deny that it was behind the technique, saying only that it would “continue to provide intelligence and law enforcement agencies around the world with life-saving technologies to fight terror and crime”. – REUTERS