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Apple’s spyware is serious, but likely isn’t attacking you

The discovery that Apple users have been under attack from malicious spyware is very serious, but it’s likely not attacking regular consumers, according to the firm.

With the recent news that Apple users have been attacked by malicious spyware, people are understandably unsure about what this means for their own devices.

Independent researchers discovered the vulnerability, which was then quickly reported to Apple by Citizen Lab, who also claim that the software could have been around since February of this year.

It’s currently thought that the spyware was used mainly to target journalists and activists, specifically a Saudi activist. However, since the hackers managed to infiltrate users phones via the iMessage app, it’s thought that this surveillance software could be present on phones of regular consumers.

“After identifying the vulnerability used by this exploit for iMessage, Apple rapidly developed and deployed a fix in iOS 14.8 to protect our users,” says Ivan Krstić, head of security engineering and architecture at Apple in a press release.

“Attacks like the ones described are highly sophisticated, cost millions of dollars to develop, often have a short shelf life, and are used to target specific individuals.

“While that means they are not a threat to the overwhelming majority of our users, we continue to work tirelessly to defend all our customers, and we are constantly adding new protections for their devices and data.”

This means that while this spyware threat is still serious, it is not likely that most Apple consumers will be targeted since Apple itself has recognised that this seems like a targetted attack on specific individuals.

Despite this, it’s still very important that any Apple user updates their device, including iOS, watchOS and macOS. This can mostly be done by going into your settings, clicking General, and then clicking Software Updates to check if you have any available. For iPhone users, this update is called 14.8.

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