After the iPhone of a United Arab Emirates dissident has been targeted by hackers who used an unknown method of hacking, Apple has urgently issues a patch that fixed a dangerous security flaw. Ahmed Mansoor is a human rights activist and he received a text message that invited him to click on a web link. He hasn’t fallen into the trap and he forwarded the message to experts at Citizen Lab, at the University of Toronto.
This type of attack is known for remotely taking over a fully up-to-date iPhone 6, by taking advantage of three flaws that Apple didn’t know about. The researchers from University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab have published their conclusions on Thursday.
“Once infected, Mansoor’s phone would have become a digital spy in his pocket, capable of employing his iPhone’s camera and microphone to snoop on activity in the vicinity of the device, recording his WhatsApp and Viber calls, logging messages sent in mobile chat apps, and tracking his movements,” Citizen Lab has written in a report.
The researchers have contacted Apple and the company has immediately brought a fix for the security flaw, which was distributed as an automatic update to iPhone 6. According to the Citizen Lab team, the attack software was created by NSO Group, a private seller of monitoring systems from Israel that develops software for governments with the purpose to gather information from mobile phones. NSO Chief Executive Shalev Hulio replied to spokesman Zamir Dahbash’s questions and he said that the company “cannot confirm the specific cases.”
Dahbash has admitted that NSO sells the software to government agencies, but “The agreements signed with the company’s customers require that the company’s products only be used in a lawful manner.” Israel has been accused of following the strictures of the Wassenaar Arrangement, which is a multilateral export control regime (MECR).
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