Apple Will Alert Users Targeted By The NSO Group…. And Details How You Can Protect Yourself From Being A Target

Yesterday, Apple announced that it was suing The NSO Group who are purveyors of spyware to nation states, who in turn target journalists, dissidents, and activists. But Apple’s efforts don’t end there. A new support document from Apple outlines two things. First, Apple will alert users:

If Apple discovers activity consistent with a state-sponsored attack, we notify the targeted users in two ways:

  • A Threat Notification is displayed at the top of the page after the user signs into appleid.apple.com.
  • Apple sends an email and iMessage notification to the email addresses and phone numbers associated with the user’s Apple ID.

These notifications provide additional steps that notified users can take to help protect their devices.

And there’s this:

To verify that an Apple threat notification is genuine, sign in to appleid.apple.com. If Apple sent you a threat notification, it will be clearly visible at the top of the page after you sign in.

That’s great that Apple has your back on this front. Even though your chances of being attacked by the Pegasus spyware from The NSO Group is low. Having said that, Apple also gives you advice as to how to protect yourself:

All users should continue to protect themselves from cybercriminals and consumer malware by following best practices for security:

  • Update devices to the latest software, as that includes the latest security fixes
  • Protect devices with a passcode
  • Use two-factor authentication and a strong password for Apple ID
  • Install apps from the App Store
  • Use strong and unique passwords online
  • Don’t click on links or attachments from unknown senders

All of this is good advice. Though I would add that in terms of the last point, don’t click on links even if the sender is known unless you are actually expecting them to send you a link or attachment, as it is both easy and common to spoof sender addresses.

Here’s the last piece of advice from Apple:

If you have not received an Apple threat notification, but have good reason to believe you may be targeted by state-sponsored attackers or you require emergency cybersecurity assistance for other reasons, we strongly suggest you enlist expert help. The Consumer Reports Security Planner website offers a list of emergency resources that may be able to assist you.

Apple is clearly serious about taking on The NSO Group. I wish them luck on that front as those scumbags need to be erased from existence.

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