Apple roll out iOS update following a botched attack

The update is being rolled out globally

Apple has issued a global update of its mobile operating system, iOS, following a botched attack. The person carrying out the attack was attempting to break into the iPhone of an Arab activist using spyware.

A report by San-Francisco based security company, Lookout Mobile, states the spyware exploited three weaknesses within the iPhone, which were previously undisclosed, to take control of the device. 

Their report into the incident indicated that the NSO Group, an Israeli company with a reputation for flying under the radar, were most likely the authors of the spyware.

When Ahmed Mansour opened his iPhone 6 on August 10th, he noticed two suspicious text messages claiming to offer new information about dissidents being held and tortured in prisons in the United Arab Emirates. Each message contained a link to a website where more information could be obtained. 

Mansour – a well known human rights activist who had been targeted twice before by the UAE government – opted against clicking on the links and forwarded them onto security researchers at the Citizen's Lab who examined the content, alongside Lookout Mobile.

"The threat actor has never been caught before," said Mike Murrary, a researcher with Lookout, describing the program as "the most sophisticated spyware package we have seen in the market".

The reports outlined how an iPhone could be completely compromised with the tap of a finger. The weaknesses could allow hackers to take control of targeted iPhones to spy on calls and messages.

Apple said it fixed the vulnerability as soon as it heard about it.