Apple warns Thai activists not to target iPhone
Apple warns Thai activists not to target iPhone

Apple has issued warning letters to at least six Thai activists and researchers who have criticized the government, as well as victims in El Salvador and Uganda.

According to activists and warnings verified by Reuters, the company warned that the iPhone had become the target of government-sponsored attackers.

Prajak Kongkiratti, a political science professor at Tmasat University in Bangkok, said he received two emails from the company warning him that his iPhone and iCloud accounts were against him, as well as notifications of threats on his Apple account.

Sarini Ashanntakul, a researcher with the legal watchdog iLaw, and a Thai activist, Yingchip Ashanon, said they received similar emails.

The rapper, political activist and anti-government politician posted screenshots of the same email on his social media accounts. All of them are considered critics of the Thai government.

Some users in El Salvador have also received warnings. They include 12 employees of El Faro, an online digital newspaper known for its criticism of the government, as well as two leaders of civil society organizations and two opposition politicians.

Norbert Mao, the leader of the Ugandan Democratic Party, also said on Twitter that he had received a threatening letter.

These messages warn that if your device is hacked by government-backed attackers, your device may have remote access to your sensitive data, communications, and even your camera and microphone. These attackers will likely attack you individually based on your identity or behavior. While this could be a false positive, please take this warning seriously.

Apple has filed a lawsuit against Israeli electronics company NSO Group and its parent company OSY Technologies. This is due to Pegasus monitoring spyware and the website of US corporate users.

The company said in a statement that NSO Group has pioneered government-sponsored monitoring technology that targets a very small number of users.

The company is seeking a permanent injunction to prevent spyware manufacturers from using any spyware product or service.

Apple warns Thai activists

Apple's warning does not reveal whether the company believes software developer Pegasus is targeting Thais.

In 2018, the internet security monitoring organization Citizen Lab discovered the active PEGIUS spyware operator in Thailand.

The 2014 coup planners continued to lead the Thai government after they retained power after the 2019 general election. Opponents say the elections are beneficial to the military.

Prime Minister Prayuth, the coup leader, denied the allegations. But he has faced anti-government protests for months. In addition to calling for more democracy, the government has also been criticized for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the economy.

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