Sci-tech

Websites thought to be hacking iPhones also targeted Android and Windows

Websites thought to be hacking iPhones also targeted Android and Windows”

Google has made no further comment in light of today's revelations, but we'd kind of like some answers about why it didn't notice the Windows and Android stuff when it was researching the iOS stuff. These websites had "thousands of visitors" per week for at least two years, Google said. It involved infecting users with malicious code, allowing an attacker to gain access to their phone. Apple fixed the vulnerabilities in iOS 12.1.4 in February, within a week after Google privately notified the iPhone maker of the flaws.

Earlier this year, Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) had discovered the secretive hacking operation when they came across the hacked sites.

Hacks that stole message, password, and location data of iOS users may have done the same hit scores more, infiltrating Google and Microsoft as well. Thus widening the potential scale of an already unprecedented attack.

The Project Zero team's deep dive into the 0-day vulnerabilities in iOS that were exploited by the Chinese administration revealed that iPhone users using the Safari browser were targeted. "Microsoft has a strong commitment to investigate reported security issues and, should new information be disclosed, we will take appropriate action as needed to help keep customers protected".

Forbes cites "multiple sources with knowledge of the situation" when it says that the real target of the attack was the Uighur ethnic group in China, rather than any particular subset of devices.

According to a report by TechCrunch, the malicious websites were "part of a state-backed attack - likely China - created to target the Uyghur community in the country's Xinjiang state".

Many non-Uyghurs could also have been affected by the attack.

Last year, the state forced 2 million Uighurs and Muslim minorities into "political camps for indoctrination", according to reports from the United Nations, prompting more than 20 countries to call on China to put a stop to its mass detention efforts. A source also told Forbes the attacks may have been updated over time to be able to break into other operating systems to correspond with changes in the community's usage.

Unfortunately, it's yet another example of how tech can be used for by governments to attack certain target minority groups.



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