Multiple opposition MPs – the Congress’ Shashi Tharoor, Priyanka Chaturvedi of the Shiv Sena (UBT), and AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi – have claimed messages from Apple warning of “state-sponsored attackers trying to remotely compromise” their phones. Sources told NDTV three people in Congress MP Rahul Gandhi‘s office received similar messages.
Government sources said the authorities are tracking this situation. According to Apple, these notifications are triggered once its systems discover “activity consistent with a state-sponsored attack“. The manufacturer has yet to respond to this situation.
Opposition MPs Claim iPhone “Threat” Alert
Earlier today the above MPs all posted screenshots of the messages they received. Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra, who also received this message, claimed Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and the Aam Aadmi Party’s Raghav Chadha, as well as CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and the Congress’ Pawan Khera were also warned of hacking attempts.
Ms Chaturvedi wrote: “Wonder who? Shame on you…” and “cc-ed” Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
— Priyanka Chaturvedi🇮🇳 (@priyankac19) October 30, 2023
Ms Chaturvedi also wrote to Mr Shah 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 warning about a state-sponsored attack…” The Sena leader said “this raises serious questions about our agencies being directed toward targeting the opposition instead of those who pose a threat to our nation”.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said he had “verified” the email from email@example.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?”
Received from an Apple ID, firstname.lastname@example.org, which I have verified. Authenticity confirmed. Glad to keep underemployed officials busy at the expenses of taxpayers like me! Nothing more important to do?@PMOIndia@INCIndia@kharge@RahulGandhipic.twitter.com/5zyuoFmaIa
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) October 31, 2023
Like several of the other MPs, Mr Tharoor tagged the offices of Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and called for an investigation into the alleged hacking bid. Another Congress leader, Pawan Khera, was more direct in his attack on the government, sharing a screenshot of the message from his phone and writing, “Dear Modi sarkar, why are you doing this?”
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.
Early this morning I received a concerning notification from Apple, warning me about a potential state-sponsored spyware attack on my phone. The notification states that, “If your device is compromised by a state-sponsored attacker, they may be able to remotely access your… pic.twitter.com/JrVD9Zh9im
— Raghav Chadha (@raghav_chadha) October 31, 2023
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.”
BJP’s Malviya Hits Back
The ruling BJP’s IT Cell boss, Amit Malviya, was swift to respond and hit out at the “usual suspects”.
“Usual suspects raising a storm over ‘state-sponsored’ attack and pretending to be martyrs is all good…”
Usual suspects raising a storm over ‘state sponsored’ attack and pretending to be martyrs is all good… But this hullabaloo, in all probability, like in the past, will end up as damp squib!
Why not wait for Apple to clarify? Or is it too much to let go an opportunity to outrage?
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) October 31, 2023
“But this hullabaloo, in all probability, like in the past, will end up as damp squib! Why not wait for Apple to clarify? Or is it too much to let go an opportunity to outrage?” he posted on X.
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