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Apple Issues Fresh Warning to Users in 98 Countries Over ‘Mercenary Spyware’

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Apple has issued an alert to users in several countries, warning them that they might have been targeted in a mercenary spyware attack, in the second such alert issued by the company this year. The latest threat notification has been sent to iPhone owners in 98 countries — six more than the company’s previous alert that was pushed to some users in April. In its message to users who might have been targeted in these spyware attacks, Apple asks users to take additional steps to protect their devices.

Apple warns users in 98 countries about mercenary spyware attacks

In the latest round of threat notifications issued by Apple, users across 98 countries have been warned that they might have been targeted in a spyware attack. The iPhone maker has been informing users in over 150 countries about potential mercenary spyware attacks since 2021, as per the company’s support document that was updated earlier this month.

“Apple detected that you are being targeted by a mercenary spyware attack that is trying to remotely compromise the iPhone associated with your Apple ID -xxx-,” the company’s email states. A similar message was sent to users in April, and Apple doesn’t attribute the attack to a specific threat actor or reveal a list of regions where the threat notifications were issued.

The warning issued to affected users also states that Apple has “high confidence” in the warning, even though “absolute certainty” is impossible to achieve when detecting these spyware attacks. Like its previous threat notification, the company has asked users to take the warning seriously.

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Users who have received Apple’s threat notification are advised to update to the latest version of Apple’s iPhone operating system — iOS 17.5.1, as well as the latest version of messaging and cloud-based applications on their smartphone.

Apple has also asked users to enable the built-in Lockdown Mode that reduces the attack surface of several features on the phone, while reducing some functionality. The company’s support document also warns users that its threat notification emails do not include clickable links, and never ask users to send their Apple ID credentials, install apps, or download files — in order to protect users from fraudulent emails that are designed to appear as if they were issued by the company.

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