The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has sent a notice to tech giant Apple concerning the controversial threat notifications received by various opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) and journalists.
These notifications, sent by Apple, cautioned the recipients about potential state-sponsored cyber threats targeting their devices.
S. Krishnan, secretary of MeitY, said that the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) is actively investigating the recent case, Moneycontrol reported.
The notice comes in response to allegations made by several prominent opposition MPs and journalists, who claim to have received warnings from Apple regarding suspected state-sponsored actors attempting to compromise the security of their devices.
Earlier, it was reported that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology (IT) is planning to summon Apple representatives to address the threat alerts sent by the company to Indian political leaders.
Apple sends threat notifications to alert users who may have become targets of state-sponsored actors. These attackers, often backed by nations with abundant resources and advanced tools, pose a significant threat to compromising the security of targeted individuals’ devices.
Indian opposition leaders, including Mahua Moitra, Shashi Tharoor, Pawan Khera, Sitaram Yechury, and Raghav Chadha, claimed that they received state-sponsored attack alerts on their iPhones on October 31, sparking political controversy and accusations of government surveillance.
“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…,” a screenshot of the notification shared on the social media platform read.
Apple’s message to recipients warned of potential remote access by malicious attackers to sensitive data, communications, as well as the camera and microphone of compromised iPhones. While acknowledging the possibility of a ‘false alarm,’ the message strongly advised recipients to treat the warning seriously.
“State-sponsored attackers are very well-funded and sophisticated, and their attacks evolve over time. Detecting such attacks relies on threat intelligence signals that are often imperfect and incomplete. It’s possible that some Apple threat notifications may be false alarms, or that some attacks are not detected. We are unable to provide information about what causes us to issue threat notifications, as that may help state-sponsored attackers adapt their behavior to evade detection in the future,” Apple said earlier.
Meanwhile, Apple’s India business is experiencing notable growth, with increasing sales and an aggressive expansion of its manufacturing operations in the country. In the second quarter of 2023, Apple overtook Samsung to become India’s leading smartphone exporter, contributing to 49% of the nation’s 12 million smartphone shipments during that period.
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