Apple issues letters to 6 researchers who criticized the Thai government

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Apple has issued alerts to at least six activists and researchers who have criticized the Thai government, warning that it believes their iPhones have been targeted by “state-sponsored attackers,” according to activists and alerts reviewed by Reuters.

The messages warn, “If your device is hacked by a state-sponsored attacker, they may be able to remotely gain access to your sensitive data, communications, or even your camera and microphone.”

All activists are seen as critical of the Thai government, CNBC quoted Reuters as saying.

Prajak Kongkirati, a professor of political science at Thammasat University in Bangkok, said he had received two emails from Apple warning that it believed his iPhone and iCloud accounts had been targeted, along with a “threat notice” on his Apple account.

Researcher Sarini Ashanuntakul and Thai activist Yingchip Achanon of legal watchdog group iLaw said they received similar emails, while a rapper, political activist and anti-government politician posted screenshots of the same email on their social media accounts separately.

Everyone is seen as critical of the Thai government.

The messages warn, “If your device is hacked by a state-sponsored attacker, they may be able to remotely gain access to your sensitive data, communications, or even your camera and microphone.”

In a statement last Tuesday, Apple said the NSO Group had created “state-sponsored surveillance technology” that was targeting “a very small number of users.”

It was not immediately clear in Apple’s alerts whether the company believed Pegasus was targeting Thais.

Internet security monitoring group Citizen Lab identified an active Pegasus spyware operator in Thailand in 2018.



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