Russia points finger at US for iPhone exploit campaign that also hit Kaspersky Lab

The Russian federal security agency, the FSB, has put out a security alert claiming that US intelligence services are behind an attack campaign that exploits vulnerabilities in iOS and compromised thousands of iPhones devices in Russia, including those of foreign diplomats. In a separate report, Russian antivirus vendor Kaspersky Lab said that several dozen of its senior employees and upper management were targeted as part of the operation, although unlike the FSB, the company did not attribute the attack to any specific state.

According to the company’s analysis of infected devices, the operation has been ongoing since at least 2019 and starts with victims receiving an invisible message over the ​​iMessage application with an attachment that initiates an exploit chain and then deletes itself. “The deployment of the spyware is completely hidden and requires no action from the user,” Kaspersky Lab’s founder and CEO Eugene Kaspersky said in a blog post. “The spyware then quietly transmits private information to remote servers: microphone recordings, photos from instant messengers, geolocation, and data about a number of other activities of the owner of the infected device.”

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