Apple says Uighurs targeted in iPhone attack but disputes Google findings

Reuters
Date: September 6, 2019
By: Stephen Nellis

FILE PHOTO: A woman looks at the screen of her mobile phone in front of an Apple logo outside its store in Shanghai, China July 30, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

(Reuters) – Apple Inc on Friday confirmed that China’s Uighurs, a mostly Muslim minority group considered a security threat by Beijing, had been the target of attacks due to iPhone security flaws, but disputed rival Alphabet Inc’s description of the effort to track users of the smartphone in real time.

Google Project Zero researchers said last week that five security flaws led to a “sustained effort to hack the users of iPhones in certain communities over a period of at least two years.”

The researchers did not specify the communities, but CNN, TechCrunch and other news organizations reported that the attacks had been aimed at monitoring Uighurs. Reuters recently reported that China hacked Asian telecommunications companies to spy on Uighur travelers.

Apple said on Friday the attack “was narrowly focused” and affected “fewer than a dozen websites that focus on content related to the Uighur community” rather than the “en masse” hack of iPhone users described by Google researchers. Apple also said it fixed the issue in February, within 10 days of being notified by Google.    [FULL  STORY]

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