The iPhone’s Image Of Top Shelf Security Takes A Serious Hit Because Of Claims Of Being Vulnerable To Spyware

The iPhone has always been considered to be the gold standard when it comes to security. But that’s now being questioned because of a report from the Amnesty International and 17 media organization suggests that the iPhone won’t protect you from having spyware made by the shadowy Israeli company known as the NSO group from being installed. And what’s worse, this spyware may have infected tens of thousands of iPhones around the world. The spyware known as Pegasus can infect iPhones and Android devices and enable attackers to extract messages, emails, and media, and record calls and secretly activate microphones. But what’s scary is that on iPhones it can infect without user interaction. Making it incredibly dangerous. I encourage you to read the full report. It is very technical, but it is very detailed and you will walk away feeling very concerned about the security of your device.

In a statement given to media organizations in response to the Pegasus project, NSO said the original investigation which led to the reports was inaccurate:

NSO does not operate the systems that it sells to vetted government customers, and does not have access to the data of its customers’ targets. NSO does not operate its technology, does not collect, nor possesses, nor has any access to any kind of data of its customers. Due to contractual and national security considerations, NSO cannot confirm or deny the identity of our government customers, as well as identity of customers of which we have shut down systems.

In short, NSO is saying that “We just sell this spyware. What our customers do with it isn’t our problem.” Which is the answer that I expect from them. But Apple to this point has been silent. And that’s a bigger problem. Apple needs to answer this as they sell iPhone on the promise that you get security and privacy. It now seems that the former isn’t true.

Over to you Apple to explain what you’re going to do to regain the trust of your users. Because right now, this report really makes you look bad.

UPDATE: Apple has provided the following statement condemning the use of this spyware against journalists, lawyers, and human rights activists to The Guardian.

In a statement, the ‌iPhone‌ maker said: “Apple unequivocally condemns cyber-attacks against journalists, human rights activists, and others seeking to make the world a better place. For over a decade, Apple has led the industry in security innovation and, as a result, security researchers agree ‌iPhone‌ is the safest, most secure consumer mobile device on the market.”

Apple also said that security was a dynamic field and that its BlastDoor was not the end of its efforts to secure iMessage.

“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,” it said. “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, and we are constantly adding new protections for their devices and data.”

Not exactly confidence inspiring in my opinion.

2 Responses to “The iPhone’s Image Of Top Shelf Security Takes A Serious Hit Because Of Claims Of Being Vulnerable To Spyware”

  1. […] on the heels of the report of the NSO Group selling spyware to nation states to allow those countries to go after a journalists and ac… the news is out via Motherboard that Amazon Web Services is cutting ties with the NSO Group by […]

  2. […] NSO Group is hitting back as claims of its spyware going after all sorts of high value targets circulate. It’s current (as this might change the longer that this story is out there) response to this […]

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