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  • Voltaire Staff

Apple dropped 'state-sponsored' from threat notification to users in India under govt pressure: Source

Apple omitted the term "state-sponsored" from its warning to users in India regarding a potential spyware attack under the regime's pressure, according to a source.

Apple had on Thursday alerted targeted users in 91 countries, including India, in a notification email that attackers tried to "remotely compromise the iPhone."

The tech giant's decision to remove the term "state-sponsored" from its threat notifications follows pressure from the Indian government to refrain from linking such breaches to state actors, said a source with direct knowledge, reported Reuters.  

Earlier, the company had on its website posted that the purpose of its threat notifications was to inform and support users who may have been targeted by “state-sponsored attackers."

Opposition politicians in India accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government of attempting to hack into their mobile phones after Apple's warnings in October about "state-sponsored" attacks.

The source revealed that Apple had engaged in thorough discussions with Indian officials before issuing the recent alerts. It remains uncertain whether other governments have voiced similar apprehensions.

In its latest post on the website, Apple said that threat notifications were designed to help users "who might have been individually targeted by mercenary spyware attacks."

It said that these attacks were historically linked to state actors, including private companies as Pegasus spyware from Israeli firm NSO Group.

Apple has also enlisted steps to be followed in case one receives the threat alert and its policy about mercenary spyware in its recent post.

"Since 2021, we have sent Apple threat notifications multiple times a year as we have detected these attacks, and to date we have notified users in over 150 countries in total. The extreme cost, sophistication and worldwide nature of mercenary spyware attacks makes them some of the most advanced digital threats in existence today.

"As a result, Apple does not attribute the attacks or resulting threat notifications to any specific attackers or geographical regions," said the iPhone-maker.  



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