Podcast with Ahmed Mansoor, the world’s most spied-on man

You have him to thank for your latest iOS and OS X security updates.

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

Podcast with Ahmed Mansoor, the world's most spied-on man

If you’re a user of Apple products you should know that critical updates have been pushed out for iOS and OS X in the last couple of weeks, addressing vulnerabilities that state-sponsored hackers have been using to spy upon people of interest.

Malware exploiting the vulnerabilities could intercept every SMS message you receive, read your email, scoop up your contacts list, steal your passwords, spy upon your FaceTime calls, turn on your iPhone’s video camera and microphone.

Citizen Lab reported last month that the target of the attacks was award-winning human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor, the so-called “million dollar dissident”.

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It was when Mansoor received two suspicious SMS messages last month he didn’t click on the links – but instead forwarded them to security researchers for investigation. Sure enough, brand new sophisticated mobile spyware was lurking at the other end.

And that’s why Apple rolled out emergency security updates. Because it’s not just Mansoor who is at risk from attacks exploiting vulnerabilities in OS X, Safari and iOS. Everyone who uses these products is put at risk while vulnerabilities like this exist.

If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to be the victim of state-sponsored espionage, if you care a jot about privacy and how encryption can save lives, you should check out Patrick Howell O’Neill’s interview with Ahmed Mansoor on the Daily Dot‘s Layer 8 podcast.


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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity industry, having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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