Centre disputes Washington Post report on Apple hacking alerts | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Thursday rejected a report by The Washington Post claiming that Indian officials told technology company Apple to help soften the political impact of the security alerts the firm had issued in October about “state-sponsored” cyber attacks against Opposition MPs and journalists.

The minister of state for electronics and technology described the article as “half facts, fully embellished”.

On October 31, Apple had warned several Indian Opposition leaders and journalists that it believed that their iPhones may have been targeted by “state-sponsored attackers”.

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that after the technology company issued the warnings, Indian officials summoned an Apple security expert from outside India to New Delhi and asked the person to come up with alternative explanations for the alerts.

“They were really angry,” a person familiar with the matter, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Washington Post.

The Indian government’s attempts to “discredit and strong-arm” Apple disturbed executives at the company’s headquarters in the United States, the report added.

On Thursday, Chandrasekhar said that The Washington Post had excluded the statement by the American technology company on October 31 that it does not attribute the security alerts to “any specific state-sponsored attacker”.

The Union minister had said that Apple had at the time explained that detecting such cyber attacks relies on threat intelligence signals “that are often imperfect and incomplete” and that there is a possibility that the security notifications received by the users were false alarms.

“[The electronics and information technology ministry] and my response to this incident has been consistent and clear from the incident – that it is for Apple to explain if their devices are vulnerable and what triggered these notifications,” Chandrasekhar said.

The Union minister said that Apple had been asked to join the inquiry with the government’s Computer Emergency Response Team. The meetings have been held and the inquiry is ongoing, he added.

“Those are the facts,” he said. “Rest of [the] story is creative imagination and click-baiting at work masquerading as journalism.”

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