By Panu Wongcha-an and Fanny Potkin
BANGKOK (Reuters) – Apple on Wednesday issued warning messages to at least six activists and researchers critical of the local government, believing that their iPhones were targeted by “state-sponsored intruders”, according to the activists themselves and according to the alerts, to which Reuters had access.
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 received two emails from Apple. In the messages, the company says it believes his iPhone and iCloud accounts have been targeted for attacks. He also received 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 an anti-government politician separately posted images of the same email to their accounts. on the social networks.
All are seen as critical of the Thai government.
The messages warned: “If your device is compromised by a state-sponsored attacker, they can remotely access your sensitive data, communications or even your camera and microphone.”
Apple on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Israeli cyber company NSO Group and its parent OSY Technologies for alleged surveillance and targeting of users in the United States through the ‘spyware’ Pegasus. [L4N2SE31T]
It wasn’t clear from alerts sent out by Apple on Wednesday whether the company believed the activists were being targeted by Pegasus.
Internet security surveillance group Citizen Lab identified in 2018 a Pegasus spyware operator active in Thailand.
Thailand’s government is still led by the architects of the 2014 coup, who remain in power after an election in 2019 that opponents say favored the military.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who spearheaded the takeover, denied the charges but faced months of opposition protests.
In addition to calls for more democracy, the local government has also been criticized for its management of the coronavirus pandemic and the economy.
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