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Apple Alert Issue : Indian opposition says government tried to hack phones, Apple Rubbishes the ‘Conspiracy’

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Several Indian political leaders, including Congress’ Shashi Tharoor, Aam Aadmi Party’s Raghav Chadha, Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi, and Trinamool Congress’ Mahua Moitra, claimed that they received an alert from Apple that stated that the State-sponsored attacker may be able to remotely access sensitive data, communications, or even the camera and microphone of their iPhones.

The opposition leaders launched a scathing attack on the Centre, seeking clarity on the alert issued by Apple. Chaturvedi wrote to the Prime Minister, calling for an urgent inquiry. “As an Indian citizen, before being a Member of Parliament, I believe it is a violation of my fundamental rights. As a vocal critic of certain government activities, I am deeply troubled by these alerts. This raises serious questions about our agencies targeting the opposition.”

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said he had “verified” the email from threat-notifications@apple.com, and threw in a jibe at the government. “Glad to keep underemployed officials busy at the expenses of taxpayers like me! Nothing more important to do?”

AAP Rajya Sabha MP Chadha posted a long note criticising the alleged hacking bid as an attack on the “democratic interests” and people of the country. “…Every Indian needs to be worried. Because today it is me, tomorrow it could be YOU,” he added.

Rahul Gandhi raked ‘Adani’ issue

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday claimed that the phones of many Opposition leaders are being taped and cited the alleged notification sent by mobile giant Apple. Several opposition leaders on Tuesday claimed they had received an alert from Apple warning them of “state-sponsored attackers trying to remotely compromise” their iPhones and posted purported screenshots of the message on their X handles.   

Raking up the Adani issue, Rahul Gandhi said, “…Earlier, I used to think number 1 is PM Modi, number 2 is Adani and number 3 is Amit Shah, but this wrong, number 1 is Adani, number 2 is PM Modi and number 3 is Amit Shah. We have understood the politics of India and now Adani ji cannot escape. Distraction politics is going on…”

On removing ‘Adani Sarkar’ from the country, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi said, “This is an interesting problem. I have some ideas. We will show how the Adani Govt can be removed when the time comes. Do not think that Adani ji will be removed by removing the Govt. Adani ji is the symbol of the kind of monopolisation currently going on in the country. The financial system of BJP is directly linked with him (Adani)…”

What was the so called Apple iPhone “Threat” Notification?

The message in question says: “Apple believes you are being targeted by state-sponsored attackers who are trying to remotely compromise the iPhone associated with your Apple ID.”

“These attackers are likely targeting you individually because of who you are or what you do. If your device is compromised state-sponsored attacker, they may be able to remotely access your sensitive data, communications, or even the camera and microphone,” Apple While it’s possible this is a false alarm, please take this warning seriously.”

Government initiates investigation

Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Tuesday expressed concern over the threat notifications from iPhone maker Apple Inc. warning some Opposition members of a potential ‘state-sponsored attack’. The Union Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology assured that the government is taking the matter seriously and has initiated an investigation into the issue.

“The government is concerned about this issue and it will get to the bottom of it. We have already ordered investigation into it,” Vaishnaw told a press conference after several opposition leaders claimed they had received an alert from Apple warning them of “state-sponsored attackers trying to remotely compromise” their iPhones.

Apple rubbishes the wild claims of Indian Opposition parties

Apple on Tuesday responded to opposition leaders’ claims – that they received messages warning them of “state-sponsored” hackers trying to access their iPhones – and said it “does not attribute the notifications to any specific state-sponsored attacker”. The manufacturer also said “it is possible that some Apple threat notifications may be false alarms”.

In a brief statement drawn from its technical support page, Apple said “state-sponsored attackers tend to be very well-funded and sophisticated… detecting such attacks relies on threat intelligence signals that are often imperfect and incomplete.” “It is possible some notifications may be false alarms or that some attacks are not detected,” the company said.

Apple also said it is “unable to provide information about what causes” the issue of such notifications, as doing so “may help state-sponsored attackers adapt their behavior to evade detection in the future”.

It also refused to reveal what triggered warnings received by some MPs.

“We are unable to provide information about what causes us to issue threat notifications, as that may help state-sponsored attackers adapt their behaviour to evade detection in the future,” Apple said.

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