Uyghur Activists’ iPhones Hacked Over Malicious Website Visits, say Sources

iOS vulnerabilities exploited over visits to infected websites like in the case of Chinese Ethnic Community Uyghurs, say sources. Updated software must for the safety of the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook.

Ethnic Chinese Uyghurs, who are under constant, pervasive surveillance of the Chinese Government, are among millions possibly exploited over frequent malicious website visits. Vulnerabilities of their iOS and other Andriod and Microsoft operating systems may have compromised their personal information citing Google Zero Team, says Forbes.

Several iPhone message and social media applications are systematically used to exploit and run the indiscriminate attack to compromise privacy – in this case, to keep a tab on Uyghur activists too, the Forbes report. It said, no one has yet named which specific Uighur-interest sites were used to launch malicious code on iPhones.

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iPhone & Messaging Apps Prove Vulnerable for Hackers to Attack Uyghur Community

Our recent report informed that Google TAG Team’s Project Zero found iOS vulnerabilities and malware implants in iPhones, iPad, and other devices through such infected websites. It led to Apple providing new iOS 12.1.4 version as a solution.

Google’s Threat Analysis Group blog written by Ian Beer says,

“You should be able to use the web without fear that a criminal or state-sponsored actor is exploiting software bugs to infect your computer, steal secrets or monitor your communications. Yet in sophisticated attacks, we see the use of ‘zero-day’ vulnerabilities to target, for example, human rights activists or to conduct industrial espionage. This needs to stop. We think more can be done to tackle this problem.”

TAG Team also found most used encrypted messaging apps over iPhone like iMessage, WhatsApp, and Telegram prone to break-ins, causing possible losses worth millions.

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Through malware, knowing users’ personal preferences and political overtones help its creator find and break-in first the iOS over Safari browser website visit. Later, one conducts individual or community-based vendetta attack or hidden political agenda, as may be required. In this case, purportedly by the Chinese Government getting access to day to day use devices like smartphones, computers, or laptops.

Forbes quoted Cooper Quintin, senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation saying, “The Chinese government has been systematically targeting the Uighur population for surveillance and imprisonment for years.”

According to TechCrunch, Chinese authorities have put up surveillance cameras in the Xinjiang Region with facial recognition features. A source also informed it, which first reported the Uighur targeting, that even those who weren’t part of the ethnic Muslim group were likely to be hit.

On discovery of bugs in iOS, Project Zero Team intimated Apple which brought out the iOS 12.1.4 version string that removed these software anomalies making iPhones, iPad safe and secure.

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There have been numerous instances of how your Apple products like iPhone, iPad, or MacBook can face surreptitious hacker break-ins. The Cupertino giant keeps updating its iOS versions for these products getting support from Developers invited to events and get paid to hack them besides acquisition of companies offering security solutions.

It is advised to download the latest software version to keep your iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and other devices safe from hackers and fail them from break-ins attempts.

Jignesh Padhiyar
Jignesh Padhiyar is the co-founder of who has a keen eye for news, rumors and all the unusual stuff that happens around Apple products. During his tight schedule, Jignesh finds some moments of respite to share side-splitting contents on social media.
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