Several journalists seem to have fallen victim to a series of cyber-attacks. According to The Guardian, the attacks were part of an orchestrated digital espionage campaign that targetted the iPhones of 37 journalists, the majority of them working for Al-Jazeera.
Evidence of the cyber-attack were first discovered by the security group, Citizen Lab, who say that the hackers were using NSO Group software, which was developed by an Israeli firmware group, and known by its nickname, Kismet. In this instance, Kismet was used to exploit an iMessage vulnerability that was first discovered about a year ago, and employed no-click attacks. Rendering affected phone vulnerable and open to the hackers.
Even more interesting is that four members of the hacker group seem to have origins in two Gulf states: Saudia Arabia and the United Arab Emirate (UAE). The former having been suspected by one Al-Jazeera journalist, supposedly due to her fierce opinions on women’s rights in the country.
Despite the vulnerability, Citizen Lab did provide a silver lining of sorts; the security group said that Kismet only affected iPhones that aren’t running on iOS 14. In other words, if your phone is still running on iOS 13 or older, it’s probably about time you get your mobile device up to date.