Apple had released emergency security updates after finding a flaw in its products that allows the highly invasive Israeli spyware to infect anyone's iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or Mac computer.

Researchers at Citizen Lab discovered that a Saudi activist's iPhone had been infected with an advanced form of spyware from NSO Group, prompting Apple's security team to work and develop a fix, according to The New York Times report.

The spyware was known as Pegasus. It uses a method to invisibly infect Apple devices without the victims' knowledge, which is known as a "zero-click remote exploit."

In addition, it is also considered the Holy Grail of surveillance as it allows governments, mercenaries, and criminals to secretly break into someone's device without the victim knowing it.

Citizen Lab said in a report that chat apps have become a major target for the most sophisticated threat, including nation-state espionage operations, according to a CNET report.

Apple thanked Citizen Lab for giving a sample of the exploit.

Ivan Krstić, who runs Apple's security engineering and architecture operations, said that despite not being a threat to the overwhelming majority of their users, they continue to work to defend all their customers, as well as adding new protections for their devices and data.

Meanwhile, NSO released a statement that did not directly respond to Apple's update.

The company said that it will continue to provide intelligence and law enforcement agencies to fight terror and crime.

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NSO Group Spyware

The technology company said that the spyware is only meant to be utilized by licensed law enforcement agencies to focus on criminals and terrorists, according to The Guardian reportHowever, investigations have revealed the ways in which spyware has been used by government clients to target journalists and human rights activists globally.

Citizen Lab said that it was able to make a contribution that the exploit had been created by the NSO group.

The cybersecurity watchdog organization based at the University of Toronto said that they believe the bug is distinctive enough to be redirected back to NSO.

NSO noted that it cannot reveal the identity of its clients. However, previous reports had said that the company had dropped Saudi Arabia as a client after it was found that it was likely the culprit behind dozens of attacks against Al Jazeera journalists in 2020.

Bill Marczak, part of Citizen Lab, said that the findings put importance on putting security in known messaging apps.

The Pegasus Project, composed of international media outlets, had leaked a list of around 50,000 phone numbers, showing governments around the world used NSO's cellphone hacking technology, according to an NPR report.

Political dissidents, human rights activists, and around 180 journalists in around two dozen countries were included in the numbers selected for surveillance.

A Dubai princess escaping her father, as well as 14 heads of state were also included in the list.

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This article is owned by Latin Post

Written by: Mary Webber

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