The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology (IT) plans to summon Apple representatives to gather information about the threat notifications
On October 31, several Indian opposition leaders, including Mahua Moitra and Shashi Tharoor, said they received alert message from Apple saying their devices could be a target of state-sponsored attackers
The issue turned into a political controversy, following which Apple said that some Apple threat notifications may be false alarms
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology (IT) is planning to summon Apple representatives to address the threat alerts sent by the company to Indian political leaders, saying their iPhones may be under attack from state-sponsored attackers.
“The Committee’s secretariat has expressed ‘deep concern’ and is treating the matter with the utmost seriousness,” a Committee secretariat official was quoted as saying by the ANI.
On October 31, several Indian opposition leaders claimed to have received an alert message on their iPhones from Apple that their devices could be targeted by state-sponsored attackers.
Opposition MPs, including Mahua Moitra of All India Trinamool Congress, Congress’ Shashi Tharoor and Pawan Khera, CPIM’s Sitaram Yechury, and AAP’s Raghav Chadha, said they received such notifications from Apple.
The matter turned into a political controversy as the leaders accused the Centre of snooping on them.
Following this, Apple came out with a vague clarification over the notifications. In a statement, the company said it does not attribute the threat notifications to any specific state-sponsored attacker.
“State-sponsored attackers are very well-funded and sophisticated, and their attacks evolve over time. Detecting such attacks relies on threat intelligence signals that are often imperfect and incomplete. It’s possible that some Apple threat notifications may be false alarms, or that some attacks are not detected. We are unable to provide information about what causes us to issue threat notifications, as that may help state-sponsored attackers adapt their behavior to evade detection in the future,” Apple said.
It must be noted that Apple, like other US-based tech giants, has been under the radar of Indian agencies due to allegations pertaining to anti-competitive practices.
However, in recent times, Apple has been witnessing a significant improvement in its India business. While the company’s sales are on the rise, it is also aggressively ramping up manufacturing in the country.
In Q2 2023, Apple surpassed Samsung as India’s largest smartphone exporter, accounting for 49% of the country’s 12 Mn smartphone shipments during the period.