Last week, Apple sent threat alerts to the leaders of several opposition parties on their iPhones. The alert sent to the Indian politicians said: “State-sponsored attackers may be targeting your iPhone”. The Cupertino-based tech giant has sent similar notifications to select iPhone users in Armenia. These alerts also warned their users that “state-sponsored attackers” may be targeting them.
According to a report by the Armenian publication Media.am (spotted by AppleInsider), the alerts were sent on the same day Apple sent similar notifications to specific Indian politicians. However, in each of these cases, the company alerts stress that it could be a false alarm, but there is reason to suspect that the user’s iPhone has been targeted.
The report also claims that the iPhones that have received the alerts “has likely been infected with Pegasus spyware, which was most likely installed by the Israeli company NSO Group on behalf of the Azerbaijani government.”
However, it is important to note that Apple didn’t reveal any such details about the hacker or whether they were using NSO Pegasus. The alerts only warn of state-sponsored hacking and share recommended steps for the user to follow. The report also highlighted that the alert wasn’t received by all iPhone users in the country.
Armenia may be suspecting Azerbaijan for spying
The report also notes that “the use of Pegasus by the authorities of Azerbaijan has allegedly targeted around a thousand individuals within their borders. The number of people targeted in Armenia is expected to be much higher, possibly in the thousands. However, it is difficult to get an accurate estimate of the total number of individuals targeted by Pegasus.”
As per an example notification shared with the report, Apple reminds the user that they have been notified once before and stresses that this is a new occurrence of hacking, or attempted hacking. Previously, Azerbaijan has used NSO Pegasus against Armenia during its conflict. Apple introduced its threat alert systems in 2021 after the use of Pegasus by governments became rampant.
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