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Apple has begun warning Russian journalists that they are the targets of attacks using Pegasus, spyware used by governments to hack and monitor iPhones.
Pegasus is well known as a tool for governments and law enforcement agencies around the world to secretly monitor the activities of people of interest, including activists and journalists. Recent reports about the malware-based tool say it is now allegedly being used against journalists covering Russia.
According to the New York Times, Apple is actively sending notices to journalists and media workers of Russian news outlets, informing them that they have become the target of “state-sponsored hackers.”
On Wednesday, it was reported that Apple had warned of a possible state-sponsored attack on Meduza publisher Galina Timchenko, a Russian publication operating in exile. Timchenko's iPhone was infected in Germany just two weeks after Russia designated the newspaper an “undesirable organization” in January.
On Thursday, former editor of Current Time Evgeny Erlikh said on social networks that he received the same warning from Apple. Maria Epirfanova and Evgeny Pavlov from Novaya Gazeta Europe had the same warnings.
Apple sends out notifications about threats from state-sponsored attackers and has an entire support page explaining what they are and what users should do to get their accounts suspended.
Despite international criticism of Pegasus, as well as its development by the NSO Group, the tool continues to be developed and used for surveillance purposes. In May, it was reported that at least a dozen victims in Armenia were targeted by Pegasus, the first recorded use of iPhone spyware in a military conflict.