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Apple warns Thai activists “state-sponsored attackers” may have targeted iPhones

BANGKOK, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Apple Inc issued alert messages on Wednesday to a minimum of six activists and researchers who have been crucial of Thailand’s authorities, warning it believed their iPhones had been targeted by “state-sponsored attackers”, in accordance with activists and the alerts reviewed by Reuters.

Apple and Thailand’s Digital Ministry didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Prajak Kongkirati, a political scientist at Bangkok’s Thammasat University, stated he had obtained two emails from Apple warning it believed his iPhone and iCloud accounts had been targeted, together with a “threat notification” on his Apple account.

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Researcher Sarinee Achananuntakul and Thai activist Yingcheep Atchanont of Legal Monitoring group iLaw stated they’d obtained comparable emails, whereas a rapper, a political activist, and a politician against the federal government individually posted screenshots of the identical electronic mail on their social media accounts.

All are perceived as being crucial of the Thai authorities.

The messages warned “if your device is compromised by a state-sponsored attacker, they may be able to remotely access your sensitive data, communications, or even the camera and microphone.”

Two political activists in Ghana, an opposition politician in Uganda, in addition to a dozen journalists from Salvadoran media reported afterward Wednesday having obtained comparable warning messages from Apple, in accordance with social media posts reviewed by Reuters.

Apple on Tuesday filed a lawsuit towards Israeli cyber agency NSO Group and its dad or mum firm OSY Technologies for alleged surveillance and focusing on of U.S. Apple customers with its Pegasus spyware and adware. L4N2SE31T

In a press release on Tuesday, Apple stated that the NSO group had created “state-sponsored surveillance technology” that had been aimed toward “very small number of users”.

It was not instantly clear in Apple’s alerts on Wednesday whether or not the corporate believed Thais had been being targeted by Pegasus.

Internet safety watchdog group Citizen Lab recognized in 2018 a Pegasus spyware and adware operator energetic inside Thailand.

Thailand’s authorities remains to be led by the architects of a 2014 coup, who stay in energy after a 2019 election that its rivals say was stacked within the navy’s favour.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the coup chief, has denied allegations the navy modified guidelines to make sure it remained in management. He has confronted months of anti-government protests.

As nicely as requires larger democracy, the federal government has additionally been criticised over its administration of the coronavirus pandemic and the economic system.

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Reporting by Panu Wongcha-Um and Fanny Potkin
Editing by Ed Davies

The Apple Inc logo is seen hanging at the entrance to the Apple store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, New York, U.S., October 16, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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