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Got iPhone alert about ‘state-sponsored attacks’: Oppn leaders, journalists

The message sent by iPhone says the personal data of targeted political leaders and journalists may be compromised due to the nature of work they do

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Multiple leaders from opposition parties and journalists in India including Trinamool Congress’ Mahua Moitra, Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi, AAP’s Raghav Chadha and Congress’ Pawan Khera and Shashi Tharoor have reported that they have received an alert on their iPhones that they were being “targeted by state-sponsored attackers who are trying to remotely compromise the iPhone associated with your Apple id”.

The message comes with the title “ALERT: State-sponsored attackers may be targeting your iPhone” and warns the receivers that personal data on their phones may be compromised because of the nature of work they do.

“Apple believes you are being targeted by state-sponsored attackers who are trying to remotely compromise the iPhone associated with your Apple ID. These attackers are likely targeting you individually because of who you are or what you do. If your device is compromised by a state-sponsored attacker, they may be remotely access your sensitive data, communications, or even the camera and microphone. While it’s possible this is a false alarm, please take this warning seriously,” the message reads.

Other leaders who received the message are AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, and SP president Akhilesh Yadav. Journalists including The Wire’s editor, Deccan Chronicle’s resident editor Sriram Karri and Samir Saran, the president of Observer Research Foundation.

Many of the leaders who received the alert on their iPhones shared a screenshot of the message on X while accusing the Narendra Modi government of spying on them.

“Dear Modi Sarkar, why are you doing this?” Khera asked the government, sharing a screenshot of the message on X.

"I use my smartphone to perform my parliamentary duties — engage with members of my constituency, address requests and provide assistance. I also use it to question the dictatorial practices of the Central Government. It is also an instrument used by me to communicate with my party colleagues, workers and volunteers for elections. I use it to coordinate my media appearances too. It is also a device I use to discuss legal strategies with lawyers in several of my ongoing litigations," he said.

“Wonder who? Shame on you. CC @HMOIndia for your kind attention,” said Chaturvedi on X, sharing a screenshot of the alert.

Striking a sarcastic note, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said he was glad to “keep underemployed officials busy at the expenses of taxpayers like me!” “Nothing more important to do?” he asked.

"Received text and email from Apple warning me that the government trying to hack into my phone and email. @HMOIndia -- get a life. Adani and PMO bullies - your fear makes me pity you," Trinamool Congress MP Moitra said while sharing some screenshots.

Tagging Chaturvedi, she claimed three other leaders of the opposition INDIA alliance have received similar messages.

Replying to Moitra's post, she said, "So not just me but also @MahuaMoitra has received this warning from Apple. Will @HMOIndia investigate?"

Chadha called it an attack on the "democratic interests" of the country, and on the people of the country.

"Hence, not only my smartphone but the democratic interests of our country have come under attack. This notification is reminiscent of the Pegasus spyware scandal which also had targeted many voices that are critical of the BJP. Even in this attack, I am not the only opposition leader who has been attacked. Multiple voices of the opposition have been targeted," he said.

The "snooping", Chadha said, was happening merely months away from a general election and must be placed within the broader attacks on the opposition.

"...Every Indian needs to be worried. Because today it is me, tomorrow it could be YOU," he added. The message shared by the MPs stated, "ALERT: State-sponsored attackers may be targeting your iPhone".

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