Congress MLA Rizwan Arshad gets ‘Apple threat notification’

Published - October 31, 2023 09:52 pm IST - Bengaluru

Rizwan Arshad

Rizwan Arshad | Photo Credit: File Photo

Congress MLA Rizwan Arshad has said that he received an “Apple threat notification” late on Monday night. At least seven Opposition members of Parliament, prominent journalists and think tank members have said they received these notifications from Apple on Tuesday, creating a stir.

Mr. Arshad is the only one from the State to publicly state that he has received the threat notification.

What the mail said

“Apple believes you are being targeted by State-sponsored attackers who are trying to remotely compromise the iPhone associated with your Apple ID. These attackers are likely targeting you individually because of who you are or what you do. 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. While it’s possible this is a false alarm, please take this warning seriously,” the email read. 

Confirming that he received the threat alert to The Hindu, Mr. Arshad said that his phone had been “hanging” for over a week now and he was contemplating getting it repaired, but before that he received the threat alert. “I am not sure whether the two issues are related,” he said.

“Hacking into the phones of the Opposition leaders using spyware and snooping on citizens is an old modus operandi by the current regime in Delhi. This is undemocratic, illegal and robs us of our privacy,” he alleged. He further said since he was in Hyderabad, he was unaware whether other politicians in the State had also received similar threat alerts. 

False alarm?

Responding to the statement from Union Minister for Information and Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw, who while saying the government had ordered a probe into the issue, also tried to point out that Apple had said that some of these alerts could be false alarms , Mr. Arshad said the Minister’s statement looked like the “defence of an accused”. “How come Apple triggered false alarms to only Opposition politicians and not to one from the ruling party,” he asked. 

Speaking on his next course of action, Mr. Arshad said since the alert clearly said it was “State-sponsored,” it made little sense to approach the police with a complaint. “In its email, Apple has suggested some technical measures to fortify the device further. I will look into the issue in depth and then take a call,” he said. 

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