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Even though it’s highly unlikely that anybody would want to read your iMessages about where you should go for dinner tonight, iPhone users are today being urged to install the latest iOS software update after two North American researchers discovered the existence of highly-sophisticated malware designed to exploit three previously unknown security vulnerabilities.

Apple released a global software update this morning to protect all users against the potential security threats posed by hackers. The New York Times are reporting that “one of the world’s most evasive digital arms dealers”, an Israeli outfit called the NSO Group, is behind the spyware, which leaves users vulnerable to having their messages, emails, calls, contacts and whereabouts exploited by hackers; it can also reportedly record sound, collect passwords and mine data from every app on your device. 

A joint investigative report compiled by Citizenlab and Lookout details the events leading up to the discovery of the malware, wherein Ahmed Mansoor, an “internationally recognised human rights defender” and Nobel Prize winner based in the United Arab Emirates received an iMessage promising ‘new secrets’ about detainees tortured in UAE jails if he clicked on a link that researched discovered belonged to “an exploit infrastructure connected to NSO Group”. An ensuing investigation quickly uncovered the threat and both parties notified Apply, who began addressing the problem immediately.

Apple told GRAZIA this afternoon that “We were made aware of this vulnerability and immediately fixed it with iOS 9.3.5. We advise all of our customers to always download the latest version of iOS to protect themselves against potential security exploits.”

And while your information probably won’t be of as much interest as Mansoor’s, it never hurts to update your software to the latest available version. The update you’re looking for is available through the usual means: Settings > General > Software Update. 

The more you know.

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Cover image: Courtesy of Apple

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