Apple issues warning against Mercenary Spyware

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    Apple Inc has recently updated its threat notification system to include alerts for Mercenary Spyware targeting individuals and companies. Previously, starting from March 2021, Apple had been issuing alerts to users whose devices were targeted by state-sponsored attacks, a response prompted by the revelation of the NSO Group’s Pegasus software being used to compromise the device of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in 2019, to leak his affair with his current pilot girlfriend Lauren Sanchez.

    The new update expands the scope of alerts to include notifications for mercenary spyware attacks in over 91 countries, encompassing regions across the West. Users who receive these alerts are advised to thoroughly check their devices for any signs of spying software. Such software is typically deployed to gather intelligence, deploy payloads like ransomware, or render the device inoperable.

    In addition to these developments, a new hacking group called Virtual Invaders has emerged, targeting users in regions including India, Pakistan, Singapore, and Africa. There are concerns that the group may eventually turn its attention to users in Western countries.

    Researchers from ESET have identified that this group deploys malware called eXotic Visit, often disguised as mobile apps available on the Google Play Store. Despite efforts by companies like Google to enhance security and privacy measures, some malicious actors continue to find ways to evade detection.

    As a precautionary measure, mobile users are advised to remain vigilant and monitor the behavior of their mobile applications regularly. Signs such as unusual battery drainage, unexpected device restarts, excessive ads, or overall slowdown in device performance could indicate a potential security threat.

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    Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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