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HomeTechnology & TelecomApple Takes Aim at Mercenary Spyware: Updated Alert System Informs Users of...

Apple Takes Aim at Mercenary Spyware: Updated Alert System Informs Users of Targeted Attacks


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In a move applauded by cybersecurity experts, Apple recently updated its documentation regarding its spyware threat notification system. This update signifies a more proactive approach in the fight against sophisticated, commercially available spyware used in “mercenary attacks.”

Let’s delve into the details of this update and explore ways to stay protected from such targeted threats.

The Evolving Threat Landscape

Mercenary spyware, often developed by private companies and sold to nation-states or other actors, poses a significant threat to user privacy and security. These tools are designed to be highly stealthy and bypass traditional security measures, allowing attackers to steal sensitive data, monitor communications, and even take control of devices.

Apple’s Enhanced Warning System

Apple’s revised documentation clarifies that its existing spyware threat notification system now explicitly warns users when they are suspected to be targeted by such mercenary attacks. Previously, notifications focused on state-sponsored attacks without pinpointing the specific threat actor. This update provides users with valuable information, allowing them to take immediate steps to protect themselves.

Benefits of User Awareness

While Apple doesn’t disclose specific details about the spyware or the attackers, notifying users of a potential mercenary attack offers several advantages:

  • Heightened Vigilance: Knowing they’re a target encourages users to be extra cautious about links they click, attachments they open, and unknown senders they engage with.
  • Prompt Action: Users can take immediate steps like changing passwords, enabling multi-factor authentication, and scanning their devices for potential malware.
  • Reporting Potential Threats: Users can report such notifications to Apple, aiding in further investigation and industry-wide threat intelligence gathering.

Beyond Notifications: Protecting Yourself from Mercenary Spyware

Apple’s enhanced notification system represents a positive step, but it’s crucial to remember that user vigilance remains paramount. Here are 10 ways you can bolster your defenses against mercenary spyware:

  1. Maintain Software Updates: Apply software updates promptly on all your devices. Updates often include critical security patches that address newly discovered vulnerabilities.
  2. Be Wary of Unfamiliar Links and Attachments: Avoid clicking on suspicious links or opening unsolicited attachments, even if they appear to come from known contacts.
  3. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Turn on MFA wherever available. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a secondary verification code in addition to your password.
  4. Use Strong Passwords: Create strong, unique passwords for all your online accounts and consider using a password manager to securely store them.
  5. Be Mindful of Download Sources: Only download apps and software from trusted sources like official app stores.
  6. Utilize a Reputable Security Solution: Consider using a reputable security solution that offers real-time protection against malware, phishing attempts, and other online threats.
  7. Maintain Backups: Regularly back up your critical data to facilitate recovery in case of a cyberattack.
  8. Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated on the latest cybersecurity threats and best practices.
  9. Report Suspicious Activity: If you suspect your device might be compromised, report it to Apple or relevant authorities.
  10. Be Skeptical: Maintain a healthy dose of skepticism when interacting online. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.


Apple’s updated spyware notification system signifies a growing awareness of the dangers posed by mercenary spyware. By combining this enhanced notification with user vigilance and proactive cybersecurity practices, we can create a more secure digital environment for everyone. Staying informed, adopting best practices, and remaining cautious online go a long way in protecting yourself from even the most sophisticated cyberattacks.

Ouaissou DEMBELE
Ouaissou DEMBELEhttps://cybercory.com
Ouaissou DEMBELE is an accomplished cybersecurity professional and the Editor-In-Chief of cybercory.com. He has over 10 years of experience in the field, with a particular focus on Ethical Hacking, Data Security & GRC. Currently, Ouaissou serves as the Co-founder & Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Saintynet, a leading provider of IT solutions and services. In this role, he is responsible for managing the company's cybersecurity strategy, ensuring compliance with relevant regulations, and identifying and mitigating potential threats, as well as helping the company customers for better & long term cybersecurity strategy. Prior to his work at Saintynet, Ouaissou held various positions in the IT industry, including as a consultant. He has also served as a speaker and trainer at industry conferences and events, sharing his expertise and insights with fellow professionals. Ouaissou holds a number of certifications in cybersecurity, including the Cisco Certified Network Professional - Security (CCNP Security) and the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), ITIL. With his wealth of experience and knowledge, Ouaissou is a valuable member of the cybercory team and a trusted advisor to clients seeking to enhance their cybersecurity posture.


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