After Apple’s hacking warning, a Thai rapper lashes out.


After Apple’s hacking warning, a Thai rapper lashes out.

On Thursday, a Thai rapper pledged not to be silenced after he and at least five other government critics received notifications from Apple warning that their phones could be targeted by state-sponsored hackers.

The Thai campaigners were told by the US tech giant that if the hackers were successful, they could remotely access personal data as well as the camera and microphone on their iPhones.

Apple filed a lawsuit against NSO Group, the Israeli spyware company at the center of the Pegasus eavesdropping scandal, to prevent it from targeting iPhones.

Late Wednesday, Dechathorn “Hockhacker” Bamrungmuang of the Rap Against Dictatorship organization shared a screenshot of the message on his Facebook page.

According to the notification, “Apple believes you are being targeted by state-sponsored attackers who are attempting to remotely breach the iPhone connected with your Apple ID.”

“These assailants are most likely going after you because of who you are or what you do.”

Dechathorn, who was previously detained for sedition but then released, called the hacking attempt “appalling.”

Dechathorn told AFP, “We (Rap Against Dictatorship) will probably write a song on this.”

“I don’t think the state will stop here.”

Rap Against Dictatorship played a prominent role in last year’s youth-led protests in Bangkok, which demanded Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-resignation Cha’s after a 2014 coup.

When asked about the Apple messages, Anucha Burapachaisri, the prime minister’s deputy secretary-general, replied, “If it is real, the Digital Economy and Society Ministry would check into it.”

Sarinee Achavanuntakul, a writer, Prajak Kongkirati, a political scientist at Thammasat University, Elia Fofi, a filmmaker, and Yingcheep Atchanont, a human rights lawyer, all issued similar warnings on their social media profiles.

A human rights lawyer was believed to be the sixth victim, and local media stated that two more activists and professors had been targeted.

Sarinee noted that the attack had used a system vulnerability to embed “spyware within the iPhone itself without the owner’s awareness,” which was alarming.

The activists’ concerns appeared to be legitimate, but AFP has contacted Apple to confirm this.

The Thai warnings were not immediately linked to the Pegasus incident, but Apple announced on Tuesday that it was alerting consumers who it felt had been targeted.

The Pegasus spyware effectively converts cellphones into pocket espionage devices, allowing the hacker to view the target’s messages and photographs, monitor their location, and activate their camera without their knowledge.

New concerns have been raised. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.


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