Last week, Apple has patched serious security flaws in iOS 9.3.5 which could allow hackers to hijack iPhones. The malware was spread using a text message containing a link and if the users clicked on it, hackers could remotely control or monitor the device, track its location, steal data and get copies of record calls that were made using applications such as WhatsApp. It seems that the same security flaw was affecting Macs, as well, so Apple has released a new update for OS X which patched the vulnerabilities within the desktop system.
The OS X patch for spyware exploit was released on Thursday, being the same security flaw that was fixed in iOS 9.3.5. Apple has refused to give more details about the security issues, saying only that “investigation has occurred and patches or releases are available.” The desktop operating system was also targeted by hackers who could run spyware with full administrator privileges in OS X Yosemite and OS X El Capitan. Mac users are advised to update their devices immediately, or else they risk losing important content.
This flaw was discovered after Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates, has received a text message that contained a link. Instead of clicking on it, he sent it to Citizen Lab. The watchdog group worked with security firm Lookout and identified the vulnerability, saying that the tool used by the hackers is called Pegasus and its creator is a company that develops cyber weapons and sells them to governments.
Apple was informed about the flaw and how it targeted the iOS kernel and Safari browser, and the company has patched iOS 10 a few days later. Users who have installed the patched iOS 9.3.5 no longer have to worry that they could be hacked. Unfortunately, this spyware has been used for several years and after installing on victims’ devices, it was impossible to detect it, but hackers have programmed it to uninstall itself after collecting enough information.