Earlier this summer, Russian journalist Galina Timchenko was told by Apple that her iPhone might have been the target of a spyware attack by the Russian government. She may not have been the only one. 

Tech and privacy experts later revealed that Timchenko, leader of independent media outlet Meduza, had been targeted by the “zero-click” spyware Pegasus, The New York Times reported. This marked the first reported instance of Russian state officials targeting a journalist with Pegasus spyware, which has the ability to hack iPhones by sending iMessages that work without users even clicking on them, the Times reported.

Several other journalists affiliated with independent Russian media outlets reported receiving similar warnings from Apple on Thursday, according to the Times. One of these journalists — Yevegny Erlich — even warned his sources to stop contacting him with information after receiving the alert.

Last Thursday three Russian-speaking journalists reported that they have also recently received notifications from Apple warning them that their phones are potential targets for state-sponsored hackers.

Apple notified two of the journalists — Maria Epifanova, the CEO of Novaya Gazeta Europe, and Evgeniy Pavlov, a correspondent for Novaya Gazeta Baltia — in August. The third, Evgeny Erlich, a journalist-in-exile at the Russian-language outlet Current Time, didn’t say when he was notified.

Erlich wrote in a Facebook post that he received a notification from Apple warning that “state-sponsored attackers are trying to remotely compromise” his iPhone. Apple’s message, as quoted by Erlich,said that these attackers were likely specifically targeting him “because of who he is or what he does,” reports The Record.

In June, Timchenko, the co-founder and executive editor of the Russian independent media outlet Meduza, received a similar notification. A subsequent investigation by researchers at Access Now and Citizen Lab discovered that her phone had been compromised by Pegasus while she was in Germany meeting with other journalists.

In 2021, Amnesty International and several other organizations reported that clients around the world used the software to hack phones belonging to dozens of journalists, activists, politicians, and business executives, Insider previously reported. NSO Group — the Israeli company that created Pegasus — has denied Amnesty’s report.

Later that same year, a report revealed several US State Department employees living in or focusing on Uganda had also been hacked by the software, Business Insider reported.

Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today