Opposition Leaders Claim Hacking Attempt, Apple Says "Some Notifications..."

Earlier today multiple MPs,including the Congress' Shashi Tharoor,Priyanka Chaturvedi of the Shiv Sena (UBT), and Mahua Moitra of the Trinamool Congress, posted screenshots of the messages/emails they received from Apple.

Opposition MPs claim hacking attempts on their iPhones.

New Delhi:

Apple on Tuesday responded to opposition leaders' claims - that they received messages warning them of "state-sponsored" hackers trying to access their iPhones - and said it "does not attribute the notifications to any specific state-sponsored attacker". The manufacturer also said "it is possible that some Apple threat notifications may be false alarms".

In a brief statement drawn from its technical support page, Apple said "state-sponsored attackers tend to be very well-funded and sophisticated... detecting such attacks relies on threat intelligence signals that are often imperfect and incomplete." "It is possible some notifications may be false alarms or that some attacks are not detected," the company said.

Apple also said it is "unable to provide information about what causes" the issue of such notifications, as doing so "may help state-sponsored attackers adapt their behavior to evade detection in the future".

What Did Government Say?

The government has said it "takes its role of protecting privacy and security of all citizens very seriously", and that a detailed investigation had been ordered.

READ | "Apple Advisory In 150 Nations": Centre On Opposition's Hacking Attempt Charge

IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw called the opposition MPs - who include Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi and Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra - "compulsive critics" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

Opposition MPs Claim iPhone "Threat" Alert

Earlier today multiple MPs, also including the Congress' Shashi Tharoor, posted screenshots of the messages/emails they received from Apple. Sources told NDTV three people in Congress MP Rahul Gandhi's office received similar messages. Ms Moitra also 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.

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..." She also said "this raises serious questions about our agencies being targeting the opposition..."

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said he had "verified" the email from threat-notifications@apple.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?"

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.

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..."

"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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