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Apple is sending iPhone hacking alerts to some of its users in Armenia. A recent warning was reportedly experienced in October. This follows a recent report revealing the same incident in India, wherein the attacks targeted the opposition lawmakers in the country.
According to Armenian website Media.am (AppleInsider) in a recent report, some users in Armenia have been receiving the notifications, informing them that state-sponsored attackers” probably targeted their iPhones. However, the outlet believes the case is likely “installed by the Israeli company NSO Group on behalf of the Azerbaijani government,” which is at war with Armenia.
“The infections we have identified date back to the 2020 war and continued until at least the end of summer in 2021,” the report reads, underscoring the recent alerts Apple sent were reiterations of previous possible hacking activities it detected months ago. “There were also instances of infection clusters during the border military conflicts of 2021-22 and before the 2021 elections. Overall, it can be inferred that infections were consistently present.”
According to the website, the attacks have been particularly targeting high-profile users, adding that the Prime Minister of Armenia, the speaker of the National Assembly, and the current president also reported receiving the alerts from Apple. Ordinary employees and the officials’ family members were also reportedly attacked in the past. Needless to say, the country’s opposition, civil society representatives, activists, and journalists were also infected in the attack, the report claims.
“To put it simply, the use of Pegasus by the authorities of Azerbaijan has allegedly targeted around a thousand individuals within their borders,” it adds. “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 expected, nonetheless, the alert Apple sent to users in the country underscored that the attacks could also be “false alarm,” although it still advised users to “take this warning seriously.”
The company shared the same statement with lawmakers and individuals in India who reported the same experience a few days ago. India’s government, which is being accused of the attacks, asked Apple for explanations. The Cupertino giant, however, refused to divulge information, saying it couldn’t share the exact details or causes for the alert triggers as it could give the hackers a hint on how to evade Apple’s security measures. Nonetheless, a recent report shared that the tech giant is considering sending threat executives to explain to the Indian government” in a “broader perspective” why the alerts are being sent.