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Starting this Monday, Russia is banning the work-related use of Apple devices for government officials and employees as its spying accusations against the United States continue.
Financial Times reported that it would affect thousands of government employees and officials, though a person with knowledge about the matter stressed that the devices would still be allowed outside of work. Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development and state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec have already expressed support for the action.
“Security officials in ministries — these are FSB employees who hold civilian positions such as deputy ministers — announced that iPhones were no longer considered safe and that alternatives should be sought,” a source close to the said government agency told the news outlet.
The ban complements Russia’s intention to encourage organizations handling “critical information infrastructure” to switch from foreign tech to the software the state developed. President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to require this, with hopes of fulfilling this vision by 2025.
The ban follows the recent allegations by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) that the US National Security Agency was the brain behind an iOS security flaw spotted by Russian security software maker Kaspersky Lab. Back in June, Apple introduced the iOS 16.5.1 update to fix the issue dubbed CVE-2023-32434.
According to Kaspersky researchers, the flaw could lead to file modification and stealing, password extraction, and even viewing of the user’s location. The issue worked via an iMessage containing a malicious attachment, which despite not being viewed, could reportedly infect a device. This led to FSB’s accusations, though it didn’t provide any proof or details to support them.