According to Apple, all iPhone users whose iOS devices were hacked or compromised by malware or state-sponsored attacks will receive a notification. After Apple sued the Israeli company NSO Group last week, the Cupertino technology company announced its plans to notify the hacking victims. Apple claims that NSO Group has violated U.S. law by selling spyware that hackers use to hack iPhones.
Apple says that if it detects that a user has been targeted by state-sponsored hackers, it will send an iMessage and an email to the address on file. Furthermore, when the user signs in to their Apple ID, they will be displayed a Threat Notification.
“These users are individually targeted based on who they are or what they do,” states Apple in the support document. Unlike traditional cybercriminals, state-sponsored attackers use other resources to target a very small number of specific individuals with iPhone devices. As a result, security professionals and company personnel find it quite challenging to detect and prevent further incidents.
“State-sponsored attacks are highly complex, cost millions of dollars to develop, and often have a short shelf life,” Apple said. “The vast majority of users will never be targeted by such attacks.” Apple has not responded to requests for comment.
According to Apple, Pegasus hacking has affected journalists, students, members of legitimate political opposition, and other members of civil society all over the world.
NSO Group, for example, does not seem to be subject to international controls. Even in 2017, a number of news organizations reported about the Pegasus spyware that had been used to target and track the devices of some major and influential individuals.