The Apple Inc logo is seen hanging at the entrance to the Apple store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, New York, U.S., October 16, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar
BANGKOK, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Apple Inc issued alert messages on Wednesday to at least six activists and researchers who have been critical of Thailand's government, warning it believed their iPhones had been targeted by "state-sponsored attackers", according to activists and the alerts reviewed by Reuters.
Apple and Thailand's Digital Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Prajak Kongkirati, a political scientist at Bangkok's Thammasat University, said he had received two emails from Apple warning it believed his iPhone and iCloud accounts had been targeted, along with a "threat notification" on his Apple account.
Researcher Sarinee Achananuntakul and Thai activist Yingcheep Atchanont of Legal Monitoring group iLaw said they had received similar emails, while a rapper, a political activist, and a politician opposed to the government separately posted screenshots of the same email on their social media accounts.
All are perceived as being critical of the Thai government.
The messages warned "if your device is compromised by a state-sponsored attacker, they may be able to remotely access your sensitive data, communications, or even the camera and microphone."
Two political activists in Ghana, an opposition politician in Uganda, as well as a dozen journalists from Salvadoran media reported later on Wednesday having received similar warning messages from Apple, according to social media posts reviewed by Reuters.
Apple on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Israeli cyber firm NSO Group and its parent company OSY Technologies for alleged surveillance and targeting of U.S. Apple users with its Pegasus spyware. L4N2SE31T
In a statement on Tuesday, Apple said that the NSO group had created "state-sponsored surveillance technology" that had been aimed at "very small number of users".
It was not immediately clear in Apple's alerts on Wednesday whether the company believed Thais were being targeted by Pegasus.
Internet security watchdog group Citizen Lab identified in 2018 a Pegasus spyware operator active within Thailand.
Thailand's government is still led by the architects of a 2014 coup, who remain in power after a 2019 election that its rivals say was stacked in the military's favour.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the coup leader, has denied allegations the military changed rules to ensure it remained in control. He has faced months of anti-government protests.
As well as calls for greater democracy, the government has also been criticised over its management of the coronavirus pandemic and the economy.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Subscribe for our daily curated newsletter to receive the latest exclusive Reuters coverage delivered to your inbox.
Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest multimedia news provider, reaching billions of people worldwide every day. Reuters provides business, financial, national and international news to professionals via desktop terminals, the world's media organizations, industry events and directly to consumers.
Build the strongest argument relying on authoritative content, attorney-editor expertise, and industry defining technology.
The most comprehensive solution to manage all your complex and ever-expanding tax and compliance needs.
The industry leader for online information for tax, accounting and finance professionals.
Access unmatched financial data, news and content in a highly-customised workflow experience on desktop, web and mobile.
Browse an unrivalled portfolio of real-time and historical market data and insights from worldwide sources and experts.
Screen for heightened risk individual and entities globally to help uncover hidden risks in business relationships and human networks.
All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. See here for a complete list of exchanges and delays.
© 2021 Reuters. All rights reserved

source