India’s cybersecurity authority, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), has initiated an investigation into a concerning matter involving alerts issued by Apple. Several Opposition politicians have reported receiving alerts on their iPhones, which have raised suspicions of a “state-sponsored” hacking attempt. In response to these claims, IT Secretary S. Krishnan has confirmed that CERT-In is actively investigating the issue, and a formal notice has been sent to Apple.
CERT-In, the national nodal agency for addressing computer security incidents, has a crucial role in responding to such matters. This investigation highlights the gravity of the situation and the importance of ensuring the security and integrity of digital communication.
Notably, the political figures who have reported receiving these alerts include prominent Opposition leaders, such as Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, party leaders Shashi Tharoor, Pawan Khera, KC Venugopal, Supriya Shrinate, T S Singhdeo, and Bhupinder S Hooda. Additionally, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav have all made similar claims.
The concerns raised by the Opposition leaders have prompted the Indian government to assure a thorough investigation into the matter. IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw expressed the government’s commitment to addressing the issue, emphasizing that the government is “concerned” about the allegations.
Apple’s response to the situation has included stating that the threat alerts were not attributed to any specific “state-sponsored attacker.” The company also pointed out that threat notifications can sometimes be “false alarms,” and not all attacks are detected. State-sponsored attackers are typically well-funded and highly sophisticated, making their activities difficult to detect. Detecting such attacks relies on threat intelligence signals that can be “imperfect and incomplete.”
As the investigation progresses, the cooperation of Apple and the transparency surrounding the issue will be closely monitored. This case highlights the importance of cybersecurity and the need to maintain the security and privacy of digital communications, especially in the context of political figures and sensitive information.