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    Apple Enhances Surveillance Warning System to Notify Targets of Mercenary Assaults

    Apple has updated its documentation regarding its surveillance alert mechanism to specify that it notifies individuals when they may have become targets of mercenary assaults.

    It specifically mentions entities like NSO Group for fabricating commercial espionage instruments like Pegasus, utilized by governmental entities to execute “specially directed assaults of notable expense and intricacy.”

    “Despite being aimed at a minute faction of individuals — frequently journalists, activists, officials, and diplomats — mercenary assaults remain persistent and worldwide,” stated Apple.

    “The exorbitant expense, complexity, and global reach of mercenary assaults render them among the most sophisticated cyber threats existing today.”

    This alteration in language contrasts with the prior description stating that these “menace alerts” are designed to inform and support individuals who may have been targeted by state-endorsed assailants.

    Reportedly, Apple dispatched threat alerts to iPhone users across 92 nations at 12:00 p.m. PST on Wednesday concurrently with the update to the assistance page, according to TechCrunch.

    Cybersecurity It’s notable that Apple commenced sending threat alerts to caution users believed to be targets of state-endorsed attackers starting from November 2021.

    Nevertheless, the company emphasizes that it does not “assign the assaults or consequent threat alerts” to any specific threat entity or geographic region.

    This development occurs amidst ongoing endeavors by governments globally to combat the misuse and dissemination of commercial espionage tools.

    Last month, the U.S. government disclosed that Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Poland, and South Korea had joined an inaugural coalition of 11 nations endeavoring to establish safeguards against the exploitation of invasive surveillance technology.

    “Commercial espionage tools have been misappropriated across the globe by authoritarian regimes and within democracies […] sans appropriate legal authorization, safeguards, or oversight,” as stated in a joint declaration by the governments.

    Apple Surveillance Alert “The misapplication of these tools poses substantial and escalating hazards to our national security, including the welfare and integrity of our governmental personnel, data, and data systems.”

    As per a recent report released by Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) and Mandiant, vendors of commercial surveillance were implicated in the exploitation of a portion of the 97 zero-day vulnerabilities uncovered in 2023.

    All these vulnerabilities linked to espionage firms targeted web browsers — notably vulnerabilities in third-party libraries affecting multiple browsers and significantly enlarging the attack perimeter — and mobile devices operating on Android and iOS.

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