Tuesday, September 28, 2021

FG warns of spyware attack on Apple products

NITDA says the Pegasus spyware infects and exploits an Apple device without the victim’s knowledge or the need for the victim to carry out any action.

• September 15, 2021
An iPhone used to illustrate the story

The federal government through the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has alerted Apple devices users of a spyware “Pegasus” that affects the products.

Hadiza Umar, the Head, NITDA’s spokesperson, said this on Wednesday in a statement issued in Abuja.

Ms Umar said that the released security updates for a newly discovered zero-day vulnerability affects every iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch.

According to her, research revealed that the zero-click exploit, which targets iMessaging, is used to illegally spy on iPhone Operating System (iOS) devices.

She said that the attacker infects and exploits an Apple device without the victim’s knowledge or the need for the victim to carry out any action.

“A spyware called Pegasus gets deployed into a targeted device, turns on the camera and microphone to record messages, texts, emails and calls, even if sent via encrypted messaging apps.

“Once the attacker has control of the device, the attacker compromises the user’s credentials, gains access to the entire infrastructure, identifies sensitive assets and moves laterally within the network,” she said.

She said that iOS versions 14.4 and 14.6 were majorly affected.

Ms Umar warned that users should immediately update their iOS devices with latest patches iOS 14.8, which was available for free from Apple.

“Plug your device into power and connect to the internet with Wi-Fi, go to Settings: General, then tap Software Update.

“Tap Install Now, if you see download and install instead, tap it to download the update, enter your passcode, then tap Install Now.

“After the install process begins, a message that says ‘Verifying Update’ appears, wait for it to finish.

“After verification is complete, your device will restart the Apple logo and a small progress bar in the centre of the screen, when installation is complete, you can unlock and use your iPhone again as usual,” she said.

She also said that installing patches on Apple watch requires opening the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap My Watch, go to General- Software Update, then, if an update is available, tap Download and Install.

Ms Umar added that for users to update a macOS from the Apple menu on the corner of their screen should click system preferences, click Software Update, then Update Now or Upgrade Now.

“Update Now installs the latest updates for the currently installed version, while Upgrade Now installs a major new version with a new name.

“If Software Update says that your Mac is up to date, then macOS and all of the apps it installs are up to date,” she said. 

Apple on Tuesday launched iPhone 13 pro. The phone has a memory capacity of up to one terabyte and costs between $1,000 and $1,500.


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