This was reported by Citizen Lab, a research unit of the University of Toronto.
An Israeli company specializing in cybersecurity has developed a tool for hacking the Apple iPhone, which has been used since February, the research unit of the University of Toronto Citizen Lab reported.
The critical nature of the discovered vulnerability does not require user interaction. It affects all versions of Apple iOS, OSX, and watchOS, except those devices that were updated on Monday.
The vulnerability, developed by the Israeli firm NSO Group, bypasses security systems developed by Apple in recent years.
Apple said it fixed the vulnerability in a software update on Monday, confirming the discovery of Citizen Lab.
An Apple representative declined to comment on whether the hacking method comes from the NSO Group. A representative of the NSO has not yet commented on the published information.
Citizen Lab said it found malware on the phone of an unnamed Saudi civil activist, adding that his phone was infected with spyware in February. It is not known how many other devices in the world were infected.
The alleged victims would not need to click anything on their devices to penetrate their computers, phones, and gadgets using iOS to be successful.
The vulnerability lies in the way iMessage automatically displays images.
iMessage has been repeatedly targeted by NSO and other cyberweapon developers, which prompted Apple to update the iOS architecture.
“Popular chat applications risk becoming a weak link in the security of devices. Their protection should be a top priority,” said John Scott-Railton of Citizen Lab.
The U.S. Agency for Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security has not yet made any comments.
“Attackers are increasingly compromising the security of devices,” said Bill Marczak of Citizen Lab.
This year, a record number of previously unknown methods of attacks on mobile devices and computers were revealed. The price for software that allows you to get into someone else’s device is from $ 1 million.
A sharp increase in the number of attacks using ransomware on critical infrastructure has drawn the attention of the White House to the problem of cybersecurity and renewed calls for regulation of this area.
As previously reported, the FBI is investigating the NSO, and Israel has created a high-level interagency group to assess allegations of spyware abuse on a global scale.