(CMR) Apple has updated its software for iPhones to address a critical vulnerability that independent researchers say has been exploited by notorious surveillance software to spy on a Saudi activist, CNN reported.
Researchers from the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab said the software exploit has been in use since February and has been used to deploy Pegasus, the spyware made by the Israeli firm NSO Group that has allegedly been used to surveil journalists and human rights advocates in multiple countries.
According to CNN, the iMessage software allows hackers to infiltrate a user's phone without the user clicking on any links.
Apple credited the Citizen Lab researchers for finding the vulnerability. The Saudi activist chose to remain anonymous, Citizen Lab said.
While the average iPhone user wouldn't have been targeted in the hacking, CNN said security experts encouraged users to update their mobile devices for protection.
In a statement, NSO Group did not address the allegations, only saying, “NSO Group will continue to provide intelligence and law enforcement agencies around the world with life-saving technologies to fight terror and crime.”