Why does Amnesty International say Apple iPhones are hacked?

Amnesty International released a report alleging that Apple iPhones could be compromised by a hacking software engineered by the NSO Group.

On Sunday, 18 July 2021, Amnesty International released a report alleging that Apple iPhones could be compromised, and their sensitive data could be stolen through a hacking software that does not require the phone’s owner to click on any link. The report came after Amnesty International reportedly discovered that iPhones that belonged to journalists and human rights lawyers had been infected with Niv, Shalev and Omri (NSO) Group’s Pegasus malware. The malware can reportedly give an attacker access to someone’s messages, emails, as well as the phone’s microphone and camera.

Furthermore, the report suggests that, unbeknown to Apple, the governments who have been using NSO Group software have been able to successfully hack iPhones and spy on a user’s data. The report further alleges that even if a user has kept their iPhone up to date with the latest software updates, it cannot stop the attackers who are reportedly using expensive and secretive spy software.

Moreover, Amnesty International reportedly found evidence of a hack in an iPhone 12, which is the newest iPhone model, while running iOS 14.6, which was the most current software before Monday, 19 July 2021. Additionally, Apple reportedly updated its software on Monday, but the company has not released security details that could advise on whether it has fixed the identified malware.

Amnesty International reportedly obtained a leaked list of 50,000 phone numbers that may have been targeted by spy software that was allegedly made by the NSO Group. Evidence was found that Android devices were also compromised, but the organisation was reportedly not able to examine the Android devices in the same way as Apple iPhones. Lastly, Ivan Krstic, the Head of Security Engineering and Architecture for Apple, said that Apple condemns any cyberattacks against journalists, human rights activists, and other people who seek to make the world a better place.