Ashwini Vaishnaw: Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw voiced alarm on Tuesday on the danger notifications that some members of the opposition received from iPhone manufacturer Apple Inc., alerting them to the possibility of a “state-sponsored attack.” The government is treating the situation seriously, and an inquiry has been launched, according to the Union Minister for Communications, Electronics, and Information Technology.
Government’s Concern Over iPhone Warnings
“The government is concerned about this issue and it will get to the bottom of it. We have already ordered investigation into it,” Following claims by opposition leaders that they had received an alert from Apple alerting them to “state-sponsored attackers trying to remotely compromise” their iPhones, Vaishnaw spoke at a press conference. “Apple has issued this advisory in 150 countries. It is clear from their mail that they don’t have specific information. They have sent this alert based on an estimate,” He added.
Apple’s Response to iPhone Threat Notifications
Hours after certain lawmakers using Apple’s flagship iPhones were alerted to a possible attempt to infiltrate their devices, the company released a statement stating, “It’s possible that some Apple threat notifications may be false alarms, or that some attacks are not detected.” The device manufacturer with its headquarters in the US made it clear that it “does not attribute the threat notifications to any specific state-sponsored attacker.” “State-sponsored attackers are very well-funded and sophisticated, and their attacks evolve over time. Detecting such attacks relies on threat intelligence signals that are often imperfect and incomplete,” Apple added.
Opposition Leader’s Shock
Priyanka Chaturvedi said, “I’ve been an Apple user for the last 20 years, but never have I ever received a message warning about a state-sponsored attack. You can understand how flustered the central government that it is doing a surveillance on opposition leaders.” Not Only Priyanka Chaturvedi but Raghav Chadha also respond in this matter.
Raghav Chadha Reacts to Apple’s Troubling Notification
Raghav Chadha Tweeted, “Early this morning I received a concerning notification from Apple, warning me about a potential state-sponsored spyware attack on my phone. The notification states that, “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.”
He added, “I use my smartphone to perform my parliamentary duties — engage with members of my constituency, address requests and provide assistance. I also use it to question the dictatorial practices of the Central Government. It is also an instrument used by me to communicate with my party colleagues, workers and volunteers for elections. I use it to coordinate my media appearances too. It is also a device I use to discuss legal strategies with lawyers in several of my ongoing litigations. Hence, not only my smartphone but the democratic interests of our country have come under attack. This notification is reminiscent of the Pegasus spyware scandal which also had targeted many voices that are critical of the BJP. Even in this attack, I am not the only opposition leader who has been attacked. Multiple voices of the opposition have been targeted.”
Chadha Further wrote, “This snooping is happening as we are merely months away from a General Election. It must also be placed within the broader attacks on the opposition who are facing relentless repression by investigatory agencies, politically motivated criminal cases and incarceration.” “These attacks are not on me as an individual, or one opposition party but the common people of India. As it is not about my phone or my data alone. Every Indian needs to be worried. Because today it is me, tomorrow it could be YOU,” he conclude.
Apple Warnings Reach Wider Opposition Bloc
Mahua Moitra claimed in a tweet that Apple had also sent warning messages to other leaders of the opposition INDIA bloc, such as Congressmen Pawan Khera and Shashi Tharoor, chief of the Samajwadi Party (SP) Akhilesh Yadav, leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Raghav Chadha, general secretary of the CPM Sitaram Yechury, and others in Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s office. Politicians Pawan Khera and Shashi Tharoor of the Congress also tweeted that Apple had sent them alert messages.
AIMIM Leader Asaduddin Owaisi Joins List of Apple Alert Recipients
Asaduddin Owaisi, the leader of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), affirmed that he received an Apple threat notification yesterday night stating that “attackers may be targeting my phone”. In a jab at the federal government over the iPhone “hack” controversy, Congressman Rahul Gandhi stated that they are free to “tap our phones as much as they want.” The opposition, he claimed, is unafraid of such initiatives.
Rahul Gandhi Accuses Administration Amid Apple Warning Controversy
“Very few people are fighting against this. You can do as much (phone) tapping as you want, I don’t care. If you want to take my phone, I will give it to you. We are not scared, we’re the ones that fight,” Rahul Gandhi said. He further charged that the administration was engaging in politics of diversion. On Tuesday, a number of opposition figures asserted that they had gotten a notification on their Apple phones accusing “state-sponsored attackers trying to remotely compromise” their iPhones. On their X handles, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi, Mahua Moitra of the Trinamool Congress, Raghav Chadha of the Aam Aadmi Party, Shashi Tharoor of the Congress, and Pawan Khera of the Congress allegedly shared screenshots of these messages.