New Delhi: Apple has issued a statement on the phone hacking alerts that several opposition leaders claimed to have received from the company, saying that it does not attribute the threat information to any specific government. The company also said that detecting state-sponsored attacks is challenging and depends on incomplete signals that may sometimes be false alarms.
On Tuesday, many opposition leaders from the INDIA alliance, including Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Raghav Chadha, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and their party’s media and publicity department head Pawan Khera, shared screenshots of an alert message from Apple on their phones and emails, warning them that “state-sponsored attackers may be targeting your iPhone”. CPI(M) sources said that party general secretary Sitaram Yechury also received a similar message.
The opposition leaders accused the government of trying to hack into their devices and demanded an investigation into the matter. Moitra wrote to the Lok Sabha Speaker requesting him to summon the Home Ministry officials and said that this was worse than an Emergency. Chaturvedi asked whether the Home Ministry would investigate the issue. Tharoor said that he had forwarded the message to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, which he chairs.
However, Apple clarified that it does not hold any government responsible for the threat information and that it is possible that some of the alerts may be inaccurate or undetected. The company said in its statement, “Government-sponsored attackers are very well funded and sophisticated, and their attacks have evolved over time. Detecting such attacks depends on threat intelligence signals that are often incomplete”.
The company further said, “It is possible that some threat information may be false alarms, or some attacks may not be detected. We are unable to provide information about what causes us to release threat alerts, as this may help state-sponsored attackers adapt their behavior to avoid detection in the future”.
Apple also said that it has received alerts of phone hacking attempts in 150 countries and that it is constantly working to improve its security features and protect its users.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Amit Malviya mocked the opposition leaders for creating a ruckus over-the-phone hacking alerts and said that they were compulsive critics who could not see the development of the country. He also suggested that the controversy would fizzle out as usual.