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Pegasus Spyware Targeted iPhones of Journalists and Activists in Jordan

Pegasus Spyware Targeted iPhones of Journalists and Activists in Jordan

Feb 05, 2024 Spyware / Surveillance
The iPhones belonging to nearly three dozen journalists, activists, human rights lawyers, and civil society members in Jordan have been targeted with NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to joint findings from Access Now and the Citizen Lab. Nine of the 35 individuals have been  publicly confirmed  as  targeted , out of whom six had their devices compromised with the mercenary surveillanceware tool. The infections are estimated to have taken place from at least 2019 until September 2023. "In some cases, perpetrators posed as journalists, seeking an interview or a quote from victims, while embedding malicious links to Pegasus spyware amid and in between their messages," Access Now  said . "A number of victims were reinfected with Pegasus spyware multiple times — demonstrating the relentless nature of this targeted surveillance campaign." The Israeli company has been under the radar for failing to implement rigorous human rights safeguards prior to selling
New iShutdown Method Exposes Hidden Spyware Like Pegasus on Your iPhone

New iShutdown Method Exposes Hidden Spyware Like Pegasus on Your iPhone

Jan 17, 2024 Spyware / Forensic Analysis
Cybersecurity researchers have identified a "lightweight method" called  iShutdown  for reliably identifying signs of spyware on Apple iOS devices, including notorious threats like NSO Group's  Pegasus , QuaDream's  Reign , and Intellexa's  Predator .  Kaspersky, which analyzed a set of iPhones that were compromised with Pegasus, said the infections left traces in a file named "Shutdown.log," a text-based system log file available on all iOS devices and which records every reboot event alongside its environment characteristics. "Compared to more time-consuming acquisition methods like forensic device imaging or a full iOS backup, retrieving the Shutdown.log file is rather straightforward," security researcher Maher Yamout  said . "The log file is stored in a sysdiagnose (sysdiag) archive." The Russian cybersecurity firm said it identified entries in the log file that recorded instances where "sticky" processes, such as
Webinar: Learn How to Stop Hackers from Exploiting Hidden Identity Weaknesses

Webinar: Learn How to Stop Hackers from Exploiting Hidden Identity Weaknesses

Apr 10, 2024Webinar / Identity Security
We all know passwords and firewalls are important, but what about the invisible threats lurking beneath the surface of your systems? Identity Threat Exposures (ITEs) are like secret tunnels for hackers – they make your security way more vulnerable than you think. Think of it like this: misconfigurations, forgotten accounts, and old settings are like cracks in your digital fortress walls. Hackers exploit these weaknesses to steal login information, gain sneaky access, and move around your systems unnoticed, whether they're in the cloud or on-site. This upcoming webinar,  " Today's Top 4 Identity Security Threat Exposures: Are You Vulnerable? "  isn't just for tech experts—it's about protecting your business.  We'll use real-world examples and insights from Silverfort's latest report to show you the hidden dangers of ITEs. You'll learn about: The Top 4 Identity Threats You Might Be Overlooking:  We'll name them and explain why they're
Apple Rushes to Patch Zero-Day Flaws Exploited for Pegasus Spyware on iPhones

Apple Rushes to Patch Zero-Day Flaws Exploited for Pegasus Spyware on iPhones

Sep 08, 2023 Spyware / Vulnerability
Apple on Thursday released emergency security updates for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and watchOS to address two zero-day flaws that have been exploited in the wild to deliver NSO Group's Pegasus mercenary spyware. The issues are described as below - CVE-2023-41061  - A validation issue in Wallet that could result in arbitrary code execution when handling a maliciously crafted attachment. CVE-2023-41064  - A buffer overflow issue in the  Image I/O component  that could result in arbitrary code execution when processing a maliciously crafted image. While CVE-2023-41064 was found by the Citizen Lab at the University of Torontoʼs Munk School, CVE-2023-41061 was discovered internally by Apple, with "assistance" from the Citizen Lab. The updates are available for the following devices and operating systems - iOS 16.6.1 and iPadOS 16.6.1  - iPhone 8 and later, iPad Pro (all models), iPad Air 3rd generation and later, iPad 5th generation and later, and iPad mini 5th generati
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UPCOMING WEBINAR: Implementing What's New in NIST CSF 2.0

websiteArmorPointCybersecurity / Webinar
Learn three practical steps to implement the latest version of the NIST CSF on 4/15 at 3pm ET. Register Today!
New Zero-Click Hack Targets iOS Users with Stealthy Root-Privilege Malware

New Zero-Click Hack Targets iOS Users with Stealthy Root-Privilege Malware

Jun 01, 2023 Mobile Security / APT
A previously unknown advanced persistent threat (APT) is targeting iOS devices as part of a sophisticated and long-running mobile campaign dubbed  Operation Triangulation  that began in 2019. "The targets are infected using zero-click exploits via the iMessage platform, and the malware runs with root privileges, gaining complete control over the device and user data," Kaspersky  said . The Russian cybersecurity company said it discovered traces of compromise after creating offline backups of the targeted devices. The attack chain begins with the iOS device receiving a message via iMessage that contains an attachment bearing the exploit. The exploit is said to be  zero-click , meaning the receipt of the message triggers the vulnerability without requiring any user interaction in order to achieve code execution. It's also configured to retrieve additional payloads for privilege escalation and drop a final stage malware from a remote server that Kaspersky described as
NSO Group Used 3 Zero-Click iPhone Exploits Against Human Rights Defenders

NSO Group Used 3 Zero-Click iPhone Exploits Against Human Rights Defenders

Apr 20, 2023 Zero-Day / Spyware
Israeli spyware maker NSO Group deployed at least three novel "zero-click" exploits against iPhones in 2022 to infiltrate defenses erected by Apple and deploy Pegasus, according to the latest findings from Citizen Lab. "NSO Group customers widely deployed at least three iOS 15 and iOS 16 zero-click exploit chains against civil society targets around the world," the interdisciplinary laboratory based at the University of Toronto  said . NSO Group is the manufacturer of  Pegasus , a sophisticated cyber weapon that's capable of extracting sensitive information stored in a device – e.g., messages, locations, photos, and call logs, among others — in real-time. It's typically delivered to targeted iPhones using zero-click and/or zero-day exploits. While it has been pitched as a tool for law enforcement agencies to combat serious crimes such as child sexual abuse and terrorism, it has also been deployed illegally by authoritarian governments to spy on human rig
Apple Warns of 3 New Vulnerabilities Affecting iPhone, iPad, and Mac Devices

Apple Warns of 3 New Vulnerabilities Affecting iPhone, iPad, and Mac Devices

Feb 22, 2023 Endpoint Security / Software Update
Apple has revised the  security advisories  it released last month to include three new vulnerabilities impacting  iOS, iPadOS , and  macOS . The first flaw is a  race condition  in the Crash Reporter component (CVE-2023-23520) that could enable a malicious actor to read arbitrary files as root. The iPhone maker said it addressed the issue with additional validation. The two other vulnerabilities, credited to Trellix researcher Austin Emmitt, reside in the  Foundation framework  (CVE-2023-23530 and CVE-2023-23531) and could be weaponized to achieve code execution. "An app may be able to execute arbitrary code out of its sandbox or with certain elevated privileges," Apple said, adding it patched the issues with "improved memory handling." The medium to high-severity vulnerabilities have been patched in iOS 16.3, iPadOS 16.3, and macOS Ventura 13.2 that were shipped on January 23, 2023. Trellix, in its own report on Tuesday,  classified  the two flaws as a &qu
Apple Releases iOS Update for Older iPhones to Fix Actively Exploited Vulnerability

Apple Releases iOS Update for Older iPhones to Fix Actively Exploited Vulnerability

Sep 01, 2022
Apple on Wednesday backported security updates to older iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices to address a  critical security flaw  that has been actively exploited in the wild. The shortcoming, tracked as  CVE-2022-32893  (CVSS score: 8.8), is an out-of-bounds write issue affecting WebKit that could lead to arbitrary code execution when processing maliciously crafted web content. WebKit is the browser engine that powers Safari and every other third-party browser available on iOS and iPadOS, meaning a flaw uncovered in the platform poses a security risk to users of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge as well. The tech giant said it fixed the bug with improved bounds checking. An anonymous researcher has been credited for reporting the vulnerability. The iOS 12.5.6 update is available for iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, and iPod touch (6th generation). "iOS 12 is not impacted by CVE-2022-32894," Apple  noted  in it
Researchers Find Potential Way to Run Malware on iPhone Even When it's OFF

Researchers Find Potential Way to Run Malware on iPhone Even When it's OFF

May 16, 2022
A first-of-its-kind security analysis of iOS Find My function has identified a novel attack surface that makes it possible to tamper with the firmware and load malware onto a Bluetooth chip that's executed while an iPhone is "off." The mechanism takes advantage of the fact that wireless chips related to Bluetooth, Near-field communication ( NFC ), and ultra-wideband ( UWB ) continue to operate while iOS is shut down when entering a "power reserve" Low Power Mode (LPM). While this is done so as to enable features like  Find My  and facilitate  Express Card transactions , all the three wireless chips have direct access to the secure element, academics from the Secure Mobile Networking Lab ( SEEMOO ) at the Technical University of Darmstadt  said  in a paper entitled "Evil Never Sleeps." "The Bluetooth and UWB chips are hardwired to the Secure Element (SE) in the NFC chip, storing secrets that should be available in LPM," the researchers sa
Apple Issues Patches for 2 Actively Exploited Zero-Days in iPhone, iPad and Mac Devices

Apple Issues Patches for 2 Actively Exploited Zero-Days in iPhone, iPad and Mac Devices

Apr 01, 2022
Apple on Thursday rolled out emergency patches to address two zero-day flaws in its  mobile  and  desktop operating systems  that it said may have been exploited in the wild. The shortcomings have been fixed as part of updates to iOS and iPadOS 15.4.1, macOS Monterey 12.3.1, tvOS 15.4.1, and watchOS 8.5.1. Both the vulnerabilities have been reported to Apple anonymously. Tracked as  CVE-2022-22675 , the issue has been described as an  out-of-bounds write  vulnerability in an audio and video decoding component called AppleAVD that could allow an application to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges. Apple said the defect was resolved with improved bounds checking, adding it's aware that "this issue may have been actively exploited." The latest version of macOS Monterey, besides fixing CVE-2022-22675, also includes remediation for  CVE-2022-22674 , an  out-of-bounds read  issue in the Intel Graphics Driver module that could enable a malicious actor to read kern
Another Israeli Firm, QuaDream, Caught Weaponizing iPhone Bug for Spyware

Another Israeli Firm, QuaDream, Caught Weaponizing iPhone Bug for Spyware

Feb 04, 2022
A now-patched security vulnerability in Apple iOS that was previously found to be exploited by Israeli company NSO Group was also separately weaponized by a different surveillance vendor named QuaDream to hack into the company's devices. The development was reported by  Reuters , citing unnamed sources, noting that "the two rival businesses gained the same ability last year to remotely break into iPhones [and] compromise Apple phones without an owner needing to open a malicious link." The zero-click exploit in question is  FORCEDENTRY , a flaw in iMessage that could be leveraged to  circumvent iOS security protections  and install spyware that allowed attackers to scoop up a wealth of information such as contacts, emails, files, messages, and photos, as well as access to the phone's camera and microphone. Google Project Zero, which studies zero-day vulnerabilities in hardware and software systems such as operating systems, web browsers, and open source libraries,
Latest Apple iOS Update Patches Remote Jailbreak Exploit for iPhones

Latest Apple iOS Update Patches Remote Jailbreak Exploit for iPhones

Dec 14, 2021
Apple on Monday released updates to  iOS ,  macOS ,  tvOS , and  watchOS  with security patches for multiple vulnerabilities, including a remote jailbreak exploit chain as well as a number of critical issues in the Kernel and Safari web browser that were first demonstrated at the Tianfu Cup held in China two months ago. Tracked as CVE-2021-30955, the issue could have enabled a malicious application to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges. Apple said it addressed the race condition bug with "improved state handling." The flaw also impacts macOS devices. "The kernel bug CVE-2021-30955 is the one we tried [to] use to build our remote jailbreak chain but failed to complete on time," Kunlun Lab's chief executive, @mj0011sec,  said  in a tweet. A set of similar kernel vulnerabilities were eventually harnessed by the Pangu Team at the  Tianfu hacking contest  to break into an iPhone13 Pro running iOS 15, a feat that netted the white hat hackers $330,000 in
FTC Bans Stalkerware App SpyFone; Orders Company to Erase Secretly Stolen Data

FTC Bans Stalkerware App SpyFone; Orders Company to Erase Secretly Stolen Data

Sep 02, 2021
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday banned a stalkerware app company called SpyFone from the surveillance business over concerns that it stealthily harvested and shared data on people's physical movements, phone use, and online activities that were then used by stalkers and domestic abusers to monitor potential targets. "SpyFone is a brazen brand name for a surveillance business that helped stalkers steal private information,"  said  Samuel Levine, acting director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement. "The stalkerware was hidden from device owners, but was fully exposed to hackers who exploited the company's slipshod security. This case is an important reminder that surveillance-based businesses pose a significant threat to our safety and security." Calling out the app developers for its lack of basic security practices, the agency has also ordered SpyFone to delete the illegally harvested information and notify devic
Beware! Connecting to This Wireless Network Can Break Your iPhone's Wi-Fi Feature

Beware! Connecting to This Wireless Network Can Break Your iPhone's Wi-Fi Feature

Jun 21, 2021
A wireless network naming bug has been discovered in Apple's iOS operating system that effectively disables an iPhone's ability to connect to a Wi-Fi network. The issue was spotted by security researcher  Carl Schou , who found that the phone's Wi-Fi functionality gets permanently disabled after joining a Wi-Fi network with the unusual name " %p%s%s%s%s%n " even after rebooting the phone or changing the network's name (i.e., service set identifier or SSID). The bug could have serious implications in that bad actors could exploit the issue to plant fraudulent Wi-Fi hotspots with the name in question to break the device's wireless networking features. After joining my personal WiFi with the SSID "%p%s%s%s%s%n", my iPhone permanently disabled it's WiFi functionality. Neither rebooting nor changing SSID fixes it :~) pic.twitter.com/2eue90JFu3 — Carl Schou (@vm_call) June 18, 2021 The issue stems from a  string formatting  bug in the manner iOS parses th
Facebook Busts Palestinian Hackers' Operation Spreading Mobile Spyware

Facebook Busts Palestinian Hackers' Operation Spreading Mobile Spyware

Apr 22, 2021
Facebook on Wednesday said it took steps to dismantle malicious activities perpetrated by two state-sponsored hacking groups operating out of Palestine that abused its platform to distribute malware. The social media giant attributed the attacks to a network connected to the Preventive Security Service ( PSS ), the security apparatus of the State of Palestine, and another threat actor known as Arid Viper (aka Desert Falcon and APT-C-23), the latter of which is alleged to be connected to the cyber arm of Hamas. The two digital espionage campaigns, active in 2019 and 2020, exploited a range of devices and platforms, such as Android, iOS, and Windows, with the PSS cluster primarily targeting domestic audiences in Palestine. The other set of attacks went after users in the Palestinian territories and Syria and, to a lesser extent Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, and Libya. Both the groups appear to have leveraged the platform as a springboard to launch a variety of social engineering attacks in
Apple Issues Urgent Patch Update for Another Zero‑Day Under Attack

Apple Issues Urgent Patch Update for Another Zero‑Day Under Attack

Mar 27, 2021
Merely weeks after releasing out-of-band patches for iOS, iPadOS, macOS and watchOS, Apple has issued yet another security update for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch to fix a critical zero-day weakness that it says is being actively exploited in the wild. Tracked as CVE-2021-1879 , the vulnerability relates to a WebKit flaw that could enable adversaries to process maliciously crafted web content that may result in universal cross-site scripting attacks. "This issue was addressed by improved management of object lifetimes," the iPhone maker noted. Apple has credited Clement Lecigne and Billy Leonard of Google's Threat Analysis Group for discovering and reporting the issue. While details of the flaw have not been disclosed, the company said it's aware of reports that CVE-2021-1879 may have been actively exploited. Updates are available for the following devices: iOS 12.5.2  - Phone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, and iPod touch (6t
New 'Silver Sparrow' Malware Infected Nearly 30,000 Apple Macs

New 'Silver Sparrow' Malware Infected Nearly 30,000 Apple Macs

Feb 22, 2021
Days after the  first malware  targeting Apple M1 chips was discovered in the wild, researchers have disclosed yet another previously undetected piece of malicious software that was found in about 30,000 Macs running Intel x86_64 and the iPhone maker's M1 processors. However, the ultimate goal of the operation remains something of a conundrum, what with the lack of a next-stage or final payload leaving researchers unsure of its distribution timeline and whether the threat is just under active development. Calling the malware "Silver Sparrow," cybersecurity firm Red Canary said it identified two different versions of the malware — one compiled only for Intel x86_64 and uploaded to VirusTotal on August 31, 2020 ( version 1 ), and a second variant submitted to the database on January 22 that's compatible with both Intel x86_64 and M1 ARM64 architectures ( version 2 ). Adding to the mystery, the x86_64 binary, upon execution, simply displays the message "Hello,
iPhones of 36 Journalists Hacked Using iMessage Zero-Click Exploit

iPhones of 36 Journalists Hacked Using iMessage Zero-Click Exploit

Dec 21, 2020
Three dozen journalists working for Al Jazeera had their iPhones stealthily compromised via a zero-click exploit to install spyware as part of a Middle East cyberespionage campaign. In a new  report  published yesterday by University of Toronto's Citizen Lab, researchers said personal phones of 36 journalists, producers, anchors, and executives at Al Jazeera, and a journalist at London-based Al Araby TV were infected with Pegasus malware via a now-fixed flaw in Apple's iMessage. Pegasus is developed by Israeli private intelligence firm NSO Group and allows an attacker to  access sensitive data  stored on a target device — all without the victim's knowledge. "The shift towards zero-click attacks by an industry and customers already steeped in secrecy increases the likelihood of abuse going undetected," the researchers said. "It is more challenging [...] to track these zero-click attacks because targets may not notice anything suspicious on their phone. E
Chinese Hackers Using New iPhone Hack to Spy On Uyghur Muslims

Chinese Hackers Using New iPhone Hack to Spy On Uyghur Muslims

Apr 22, 2020
A Chinese hacking group has been found leveraging a new exploit chain in iOS devices to install a spyware implant targeting the Uyghur Muslim minority in China's autonomous region of Xinjiang. The findings, published by digital forensics firm Volexity , reveal that the exploit — named "Insomnia" — works against iOS versions 12.3, 12.3.1, and 12.3.2 using a flaw in WebKit that was patched by Apple with the release of iOS 12.4 in July 2019. Volexity said the attacks were carried out by a state-sponsored hacking group it calls Evil Eye , the same threat actor that it said was behind a series of attacks against the Uyghurs last September following a bombshell disclosure by Google's Project Zero team . China has long considered Xinjiang a breeding ground for " separatists, terrorists and religious extremists ," with the residents of the region — ethnically Turkic Muslims — thrown into concentration camps , and subjected to persecution and high-tech surv
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