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Google finds evidence of attempted mass hacking on the iPhone



Earlier this year, Google's cybersecurity experts "discovered a small collection of hacked websites" that exploited vulnerabilities in Apple's ( AAPL ) smartphone software, Ian Bier, a researcher with Google Project Zero, said in a blog post published Thursday. He did not specify websites.

"Just visiting the hack site was enough for the operating server to attack your device and if successful, install an implant monitoring," Beer added. "We think these sites receive thousands of visitors a week."

The implant was able to give hackers access to the iPhone users' contacts, photos and location, as well as data from apps like iMessage, WhatsApp, Telegram, Gmail and Google Hangouts, according to Project Zero researchers.
Google researchers ( GOOGL ) researchers found "a total of fourteen vulnerabilities", half of them related to the iPhone web browser. They informed Apple about the vulnerabilities on February 1
, prompting the company to issue a software update six days later when it acknowledged that some applications could potentially "receive privileges" and "execute arbitrary code."

Beer describes the hacking attempt as a campaign for the use of iPhones in bulk. He also said it was a "case of failure for the attacker" and it was not clear from the publication whether any data had been stolen.

No company immediately responded to a request for comment on Friday.

The vulnerabilities covered almost every version of the iPhone operating system "from iOS 10 to the latest version of iOS 12," Beer added.

"This shows that the group has been constantly working to hack iPhone users in certain communities for at least two years," he writes.

Beer said he also warned that there could be other potential attacks.

"For this one campaign we saw, there are almost certainly others who are yet to see each other," he said. "All consumers can do is realize the fact that mass exploitation still exists and behave accordingly; treat their mobile devices as an integral part of their modern lives, but also as devices that when compromised , may upload any of their actions to a database potentially used against them. "


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