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Thread: Potential impact on iPhone sales due to Israeli spyware Co. attacks on iPhones, Facebook apps

  1. #1

    Exclamation Potential impact on iPhone sales due to Israeli spyware Co. attacks on iPhones, Facebook apps

    Until now, Apple products were generally viewed to be very secure and not prone to dangerous hacking attacks. That notion took a big hit last week after news reports came out citing Apple iPhone and Facebook messaging apps' exploitation by Israeli spyware company NSO. Since this news came out, that has been called "story of the year" by Snowden, everyday more damaging details are coming out in the world press.

    What will be the potential impact on iPhone sales in US/global markets and economic impact on related industries if public perceptions about iPhone security took a hit as a result of these reports?
    Facebook's bread n butter is earned probably through sale and/or exploitation of data of its customers and it "sells" lot of "freeware", so it might be relatively harder to quantify impact on its "sales" but apps it hosts or is parent to are featured prominently in this exploding global spyware scandal.

    Israeli spyware launched 'zero-click' attacks on iPhones: Pegasus gained control of devices without the owner having to do anything and turned phones into 24-hour surveillance devices

    • Apple has long touted iPhone's superior security features compared to Androids
    • A new report indicates even the most recent iPhones can fall victim to spyware
    • Of 37 phones either infected or attacked by Pegasus, all but three were iPhones
    • Vulnerabilities were found in iMessage, WhatsApp and Photo, among other locations
    • Amnesty International said potentially thousands of iPhones were compromised
    • Apple says Pegasus attacks 'are not a threat to the overwhelming majority of our users'
    • It recently added BlastDoor, which isolates and 'unpacks' suspicious iMessages

    Dan Avery
    Published: 19 July 2021

    While Apple touts the security and privacy of its iPhones, shocking new evidence indicates malware deployed by authoritarian regimes around the world was easily able to overcome even the most current security defenses.

    In a damning new report, Amnesty International and Paris-based Forbidden Stories, which publishes the work of threatened journalists, claim they found so-called 'zero-click' attacks running this month on a fully updated iPhone 12 running iOS 14.6, Apple's most recent upgrade.

    Unlike other forms of malware, zero-click attacks don't require any interaction from the victim.
    The report found Pegasus, a spyware program developed by Israeli company NSO, on an unnamed Indian journalist's iPhone XR this month running on iOS 14.6.
    The malware was also found this month on an activist's iPhone X with the same upgrade.

    'These most recent discoveries indicate NSO Group's customers are currently able to remotely compromise all recent iPhone models and versions of iOS,' the report indicated, adding that 'thousands of iPhones have potentially been compromised.'

    Amnesty and Forbidden Stories say they have reported their findings to Apple, 'who informed us they are investigating the matter.'


    Demonstrations and inquiries: the global impact of the Pegasus project

    Worldwide concern over the use of invasive spyware sold to autocratic regimes

    Reporting team
    Mon 26 Jul 2021 03.20 EDT

    The Pegasus project investigation has reverberated across the world; claims about the use of invasive spyware, and the governments that use the technology, have provoked demonstrations, political outrage and calls for industry regulation.
    Here, Guardian reporters pull together the impact of the investigation, which has put a spotlight on the government customers of the Israeli company NSO Group.

    French Prez Macron orders inquiry into Israeli spyware case after reports of his phone hack

    Mexico used Pegasus to Surveil President’s Family & a Murdered Journalist

    Michael Flynn, an associate of Prez Trump and First son-in-law Kushner, reportedly had ties to Israeli spyware firm

    Israeli Spyware Maker NSO In Spotlight

    NSO’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week Is Just the Start
    Amitai Ziv
    July 22, 2021
    After a global investigation into a list of potential targets selected by their clients, NSO faces a string of very serious challenges.
    Last week was perhaps the most dramatic in the history of Israeli cyberespionage firm NSO Group.

    U.S. Lawmakers Demand Action After Spyware Allegations Against Israeli NSO
    Ben Samuels
    Jul. 23, 2021
    WASHINGTON – U.S. lawmakers are growing increasingly alarmed by reports that the Israeli firm NSO Group leased military-grade spyware to authoritarian regimes around the world, who allegedly used it to hack the phones of politicians, journalists, human rights activists and business executives.

    July 20, 2021
    Where Netanyahu Went, NSO Followed: How Israel Pushed Cyberweapon Sales
    Investigation of potential Pegasus targets reveals: From Hungary to India and even Saudi Arabia, this is how Israel became the cyber industry’s patron and pushed spyware sales across the world

    Facebook owned WhatsApp and Apple's iPhone messaging apps are also cited in reported Israeli spyware cases
    "In the 2019 hack, the spyware exploited a 'zero-day bug in the WhatsApp application, that would see users receive a WhatsApp call and have the malicious code installed on their phone even if they didn't answer. Similarly, Apple's iMessage software has also fallen victim to Pegasus."

    Facebook Is Collaborating With the Israeli Government
    Those who want Silicon Valley tech giants to be arbiters of political speech are playing with fire.
    Glenn Greenwald
    September 12 2016

    Apple's Tim Cook meets Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu at Apple HQ

    Pegasus spyware scandal: Why were Indian health advocates targeted?
    From a virologist to health nonprofits, Kunal Purohit explores what the Pegasus Project’s India list reveals about the country’s health system politics.
    Modi government accused of spying on critics and opponents using Pegasus spyware
    July 22, 2021
    Just when Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government is trying to recover from widespread international and local condemnation for its culpability in India's COVID apocalypse, it is now being derided for what some are calling India's Watergate.

    Israeli spyware used to target phones of journalists and activists

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  4. #3
    After Effects Of Pegasus: More Use Of Basic Phones, No WhatsApp, iMessage
    06 August 2021

    Pegasus spyware found on journalists’ phones, French intelligence confirms
    Announcement is first time an independent and official authority has corroborated Pegasus project findings
    Mon 2 Aug 2021

    Apple condemns Pegasus cyberattacks against journalists in new statement
    Wesley Hilliard

    NSO/Pegasus: 17 journalists from 7 countries join RSF’s complaint in Paris and before the UN

    Morocco / Western Sahara
    Middle East - North Africa
    Europe - Central Asia
    Asia - Pacific
    Judicial harassment

    Seventeen journalists from seven countries who were listed as potential or actual victims of Pegasus spyware have filed complaints with prosecutors in Paris, against NSO Group and all other persons the investigation will identify. Their complaints complement the one Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and two journalists with French and Moroccan dual nationality already filed on 20 July. RSF has also referred their cases to the United Nations.

    The 17 journalists – two from Azerbaijan, five from Mexico, five from India, one from Spain, two from Hungary, one from Morocco and one from Togo – are among the nearly 200 journalists on the list of persons identified by the Pegasus Project investigation as potential targets or actual victims of clandestine surveillance by NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware.

    All of these plaintiffs know or have serious grounds for fearing that they were spied on by their governments as a result of having carried out independent journalistic reporting in the public interest.

  5. #4
    EU commissioner calls for urgent action against Pegasus spyware

    Didier Reynders condemns hacking of political opponents and journalists and says bloc closely watching Hungary investigation

    Didier Reynders told MEPs that the European commission ‘totally condemned’ alleged attempts to illegally access information on political opponents through their phones. Photograph: Yves Herman/EPA

    Daniel Boffey in Strasbourg
    Wed 15 Sep 2021

    The EU must swiftly legislate to further protect the rights of activists, journalists and politicians following the Pegasus spyware scandal, and the perpetrators of illegal tapping must be prosecuted, the bloc’s justice commissioner has told the European parliament.

    Didier Reynders told MEPs that the European Commission

    The investigation was based on forensic analysis of phones and analysis of a leaked database of 50,000 numbers, including that of the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and European Council president, Charles Michel, along with other heads of state and senior government, diplomatic and military officials, in 34 countries.
    Reynders, a former Belgian justice minister, was speaking at the start of a debate in the European parliament on the scandal.
    Sophie In ‘t Veld, a Dutch MEP in the liberal D66 party, said the parliament’s civil liberties, justice and home committee, of which she is a leading member, would launch an investigation into the use of Pegasus within the EU.
    “We want total clarity and honesty now,” she said. “The European Commission denies having had any contacts with the company, but I find that hard to believe. At our initiative, [the committee] will start a quick investigation into the allegations.
    Last month Hungary’s data protection authority, the NAIH, said it had launched an official investigation into allegations about the Hungarian government’s use of the Pegasus software.

    At least five Hungarian journalists appeared on a leaked list reviewed by the Pegasus papers consortium. Also on the list was the number of the opposition politician György Gémesi, the mayor of the town of Gödöllő and the head of a nationwide association of mayors.

  6. #5
    It is not clear so far what connection such "secrecy" has to exploding Pegasus scandal if any.

    "Where Netanyahu Went, NSO Followed: How Israel Pushed Cyberweapon Sales"

    Video of Tim Cook's Lunch Meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Gives Inside Look at Apple HQ - MacRumors

    Tim Cook Faces Surprising Employee Unrest at Apple

    September 17, 2021
    SAN FRANCISCO — Apple, known among its Silicon Valley peers for a secretive corporate culture in which workers are expected to be in lock step with management, is suddenly facing an issue that would have been unthinkable a few years ago: employee unrest.

    On Friday, Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, answered questions from workers in an all-staff meeting for the first time since the public surfacing of employee concerns over topics ranging from pay equity to whether the company should assert itself more on political matters like Texas’ restrictive abortion law.

    Mr. Cook answered only two of what activist employees said were a number of questions they had wanted to ask in a meeting broadcast to employees around the world, according to a recording obtained by The New York Times. But his response was a notable acknowledgment that the workplace and social issues that have been roiling Silicon Valley for several years have taken root at Apple.
    Over the past month, more than 500 people who said they were current and former Apple employees have submitted accounts of verbal abuse, sexual harassment, retaliation and discrimination at work, among other issues, to an employee-activist group that calls itself #AppleToo, said Cher Scarlett and Janneke Parrish, two Apple employees who help lead the group.

    The group has begun posting some of the anonymous stories online and has been encouraging colleagues to contact state and federal labor officials with their complaints. Their issues, as well as those of eight current and former employees who spoke to The Times, vary; among them are workplace conditions, unequal pay and the company’s business practices.

    A common theme is that Apple’s secrecy has created a culture that discourages employees from speaking out about their workplace concerns — not with co-workers, not with the press and not on social media. Complaints about problematic managers or colleagues are frequently dismissed, and workers are afraid to criticize how the company does business, the employees who spoke to The Times said.

    “Apple has this culture of secrecy that is toxic,” said Christine Dehus, who worked at Apple for five years and left in August. “On one hand, yes, I understand the secrecy piece is important for product security, to surprise and delight customers. But it bleeds into other areas of the culture where it is prohibitive and damaging.”

  7. #6
    Hopefully such headwinds impact following public pressure driven privacy policy changes would be limited for broader sector:

    Snap stock falls 26% after quarterly results

    Snap’s holiday forecast underwhelms amid concerns about Apple privacy change’s effects, fears that advertisers could pull back spending due to uncertain supply

    Last Updated: Oct. 21, 2021 at 4:43 p.m.
    By Jon Swartz

    Snap Inc. predicted a weaker holiday season than expected and pointed the finger at Apple Inc. and supply-chain constraints Thursday afternoon, and shares fell more than 20% in after-hours trading.
    Snap, the maker of photo messaging app Snapchat, said privacy changes imposed by Apple on iOS devices hurt Snap’s ability to target and measure its digital advertising.

    “Our advertising business was disrupted by changes to iOS ad tracking that were broadly rolled out by Apple in June and July,” the company reported. “Broadly speaking, these changes have upended many of the industry norms and advertiser behaviors that were built on IDFA (Apple’s unique device identifier for advertising) over the past decade.”

    “While we anticipated some degree of business disruption, the new Apple-provided measurement solution did not scale as we had expected, making it more difficult for our ad partners to measure and manage their ad campaigns for iOS.”

    Read: Opinion: Snap points to possibility of Apple causing the long-feared ‘ad-mageddon’
    In a 65-minute webcast Thursday, Snap Chief Executive Evan Spiegel described Apple’s changes to analysts as a “frustrating setback,” and said his advertising customers’ “tools were essentially rendered blind.”

    “We’re now operating at the scale necessary to navigate significant headwinds, including changes to the iOS platform that impact the way advertising is targeted,

  8. #7
    This could be due to other supply chain factors and and bad publicity due to Israeli spyware news might nort be the biggest factor:

    Apple quarterly sales miss for first time since 2018
    Stock falls as revenue for iPhones and wearables came in below expectations for first time since holiday season of 2018
    Oct. 28, 2021

    Way back when controversial wars & torture profiteering outfit "Blackwater" had changed its name, its image didn't improve much.

    Facebook is changing its name to "Meta"

    October 28, 2021
    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote address during a virtual event on Oct. 28. Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will rebrand itself under a new name: Meta.
    Facebook's new corporate name is Meta, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday, in an apparent effort to recast the company's public image from battered social network to tech innovator focused on building the next generation of online interaction, known as the "metaverse."
    The Facebook app used by almost 3 billion people around the world every month will keep its name. But speaking at the company's Connect virtual reality conference, Zuckerberg said it's time to overhaul the corporation's identity to reflect its broader ambitions.
    "It is time for us to adopt a new company brand to encompass everything that we do," he said. "From now on, we're going to be metaverse first, not Facebook first."

    Facebook tells employees to preserve all communications for legal reasons.

    Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee turned whistle-blower, testified in a Senate subcommittee earlier this month.Credit...T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

    Oct. 28, 2021
    Facebook has told employees to “preserve internal documents and communications since 2016” that pertain to its businesses because governments and legislative bodies have started inquiries into its operations, according to a company email sent on Tuesday night.

    The move, known as a “legal hold,” follows intense media, legal and regulatory scrutiny over the social network’s harms. Lawmakers and the public are up in arms after Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee turned whistle-blower, provided thousands of internal documents to lawmakers and the media showing how much the company knew about some of its ill effects, such as spreading misinformation and exacerbating body image issues in some teenagers.
    Those files, known as the Facebook Papers, were initially published by The Wall Street Journal.

  9. #8
    Interesting news. I think that Apple or Android will not feel less sales than before as such spy apps were used for a long time. It will be better for them to find the solution to protect phones from such apps and any kind of spyware.

    The problem of spyware is very urgent nowadays as such apps are widely used. I found this information how to detect and delete such spyware from your phone.

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  11. #9
    Finally Apple wakes up.
    But facebook still appears to be asleep on the wheel.

    After Massive Global Fallout, Apple Sues Israeli Spyware Maker NSO For Infecting iPhones

    Apple accused NSO Group, the Israeli surveillance company, of “flagrant” violations of its software, as well as federal and state laws.

    An aerial view of an NSO Group branch in the Arava Desert in Israel.Credit...Amir Cohen/Reuters

    By Nicole Perlroth
    Nov. 23, 2021Updated 4:32 p.m. ET

    SAN FRANCISCO — Apple sued the NSO Group, the Israeli surveillance company, in federal court on Tuesday, another setback for the beleaguered firm and the unregulated spyware industry.
    The lawsuit is the second of its kind — Facebook sued NSO in 2019 for targeting its WhatsApp users — and another consequential move by a private company to curb invasive spyware by governments and the companies that provide their spy tools.
    Apple, for the first time, seeks to hold NSO accountable for what it says was the surveillance and targeting of Apple users. Apple also wants to permanently prevent NSO from using any Apple software, services or devices, a move that could render the company’s Pegasus spyware product worthless, given that its core business is to give government clients full access to a target’s iPhone or Android smartphone.
    Apple is also asking for unspecified damages for the time and cost to deal with what the company argues is NSO’s abuse of its products. Apple said it would donate the proceeds from those damages to organizations that exposed spyware.

    Since NSO’s founding in 2010, its executives have said they sell spyware to governments only for lawful interception, but a series of revelations by journalists and private researchers have shown the extent to which governments have deployed NSO’s Pegasus spyware against journalists, activists and dissidents.
    Apple executives described the lawsuit as a warning shot to NSO and other spyware makers. “This is Apple saying: If you do this, if you weaponize our software against innocent users, researchers, dissidents, activists or journalists, Apple will give you no quarter,” Ivan Krstic, head of Apple security engineering and architecture, said in an interview on Monday.

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