Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) published an article Thursday about spyware from RCS Labs, an Italian company targeting iPhones and Android phones in Italy and Kazakhstan. Once installed, the spyware would monitor the user’s messages and contacts.
However, the exploits used by RCS Labs have been fixed by Apple – some as early as the iOS 12 cycle from 2018 to 2019. iPhone users who regularly update iOS are not at risk of their iPhone being exploited by RCS Lab’s spyware. .
Google TAG listed the following exploits used by RCS Labs. We mentioned the iOS version when Apple released a security patch and the links to Apple’s security notes. Apple has also patched iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS where applicable.
Google’s article specifically states that users in Italy and Kazakhstan were identified as affected, but the article does not address how widespread the attack was, nor whether there was any possibility that users outside those two countries could have been affected.
According to Google, the attack started with a unique web link being sent to a user, and when the link was activated, “the page attempted to trick the user into downloading and installing a malicious application.” Google also believes the attack would disable the phone’s data connection, and the attacker would then send a text message telling the user that an attached link would restore the data connection. But the link was malicious and would install the spyware.
How to update the operating system
Google’s article is a good reminder of the importance of installing OS updates as soon as possible. Updates usually contain important security patches to protect you and your device. If you are not familiar with updating your device, follow these steps:
- iPhone and iPad: Tap Settings † General † software update†
- macOS: Click on the Apple menu > System Preferences… † software update†
- watchOS: Open the Watch app on your iPhone. Then tap General † software update†
- tvOS: Open Settings† Then go to System † Software updates†