Published: Tue, September 03, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

IPhone security exploit allegedly used to target Uyghur Muslims

IPhone security exploit allegedly used to target Uyghur Muslims

Researchers revealed that hackers have been targeting iPhones last week as part of a two-year effort that that compromised thousands of users encrypted information, including messages in WhatsApp, Telegram, and iMessage.

The wide-scale iPhone hack uncovered by Google security researchers last week may have also affected Android and Windows devices too, reports have claimed.

Google told Apple about the issue on February 1, and Apple released a patch for the problem with iOS 12.1.4, which was released on February 7.

A source claimed that the same websites were used to target Android devices and Windows PCs.

"Earlier this year, Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) discovered a small collection of hacked websites".

Whether Google found or shared evidence of this is unclear, as is whether the attackers used the same method of attack as they did with iPhone users, which involved attempting to sneak malicious code onto users' phones upon their visit to the infected websites. Forbes later on verified this with its own sources, and included that the hack had also impacted devices running Google's Android operating system and Microsoft's Windows. "Microsoft has a strong commitment to investigate noted security concerns and, needs to new details be revealed, we will take proper action as needed to help keep consumers protected".

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According to Forbes, the two-year campaign which had previously been believed to be aimed exclusively iOS actually morphed during the course of the two-year attack to reflect the gadget ownership of the target group.

Many non-Uyghurs could also have been affected by the attack.

"It's part of the latest effort by the Chinese government to crack down on the minority Muslim community in recent history", TechCrunch notes.

"One source suggested that the attacks were updated over time for different operating systems as the tech usage of the Uighur community changed".

The campaign allegedly utilised Uighur-interest sites to draw in victims from the region, ensuring specific groups of users could be targeted. The Chinese administration has been tracking the movements of Uighur people via widespread surveillance cameras with facial recognition.

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