Everyone in Cupertino knew. Apple systems were able to warn about spying on the opposition in India using Pegasus

Everyone in Cupertino knew. Apple systems were able to warn about spying on the opposition in India using Pegasus

December 29, 02:18 Share:

Pegasus spyware was found on the smartphone of a journalist from India (Photo:NSO Group via Facebook)

In late October, Apple sent a warning to journalists and opposition figures in India about potential cyberattacks on their iPhones.. Although the authorities denied espionage, information about the use of dangerous Pegasus software was confirmed.

In its warnings to customers, Apple reported a possible powerful attack. Although Apple has not directly stated that the Indian government is responsible for the attacks, the Pegasus software in question is developed by the Israeli company NSO Group, primarily sold to governments and government agencies.

Indian authorities not only questioned the accuracy of the company's internal algorithms that detected the threat, but also tried to reach an agreement with Apple. According to The Washington Post, it was proposed to find a way to soften the political impact of the warnings or provide alternative technical explanations for the appearance of these notifications that would divert attention from government involvement.

The journalists and politicians who received Apple's warning were mostly critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.. The non-profit human rights group Amnesty International checked the phone of one of these people — journalist Anand Mangnale — and found Pegasus spyware on his device.

“Our latest findings show that journalists in India increasingly face the threat of illegal surveillance. … Despite repeated revelations, there has been a disgraceful lack of accountability for the use of Pegasus spyware in India, which only adds to the sense of impunity for these human rights abuses,” said Doncha Ó Cirbhail, Head of Security Lab at Amnesty International.

This is not the first time India's ruling political party has used Pegasus software to spy on journalists and political opponents.. In particular, in 2021, an investigation by several publications that covered the Pegasus project revealed spyware on the phones of a number of people who had previously opposed and criticized the Modi government.

Read also: Israel did not allow Ukraine to buy Pegasus spyware, fearing it would anger Russia — The Guardian WP: Pentagon contractor negotiates purchase with developer of Pegasus spyware, which Israel did not want to sell to Ukraine