“Apple says it is issuing a security update after powerful espionage software was found targeting an activist’s iPhone in the Middle East,” The Associated Press reports.

“Computer forensics experts tell The Associated Press the spyware takes advantage of three previously undisclosed weaknesses in Apple’s mobile operating system to take complete control of iPhone handsets,” AP reports. “Apple said in a statement that it fixed the vulnerability immediately after learning about it.”

Read more in the full article here.

Citizen Lab reports:

Ahmed Mansoor is an internationally recognized human rights defender, based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and recipient of the Martin Ennals Award (sometimes referred to as a “Nobel Prize for human rights”). On August 10 and 11, 2016, Mansoor received SMS text messages on his iPhone promising “new secrets” about detainees tortured in UAE jails if he clicked on an included link. Instead of clicking, Mansoor sent the messages to Citizen Lab researchers. We recognized the links as belonging to an exploit infrastructure connected to NSO Group, an Israel-based “cyber war” company that sells Pegasus, a government-exclusive “lawful intercept” spyware product. NSO Group is reportedly owned by an American venture capital firm, Francisco Partners Management.

The ensuing investigation, a collaboration between researchers from Citizen Lab and from Lookout Security, determined that the links led to a chain of zero-day exploits (“zero-days”) that would have remotely jailbroken Mansoor’s stock iPhone 6 and installed sophisticated spyware. We are calling this exploit chain Trident. Once infected, Mansoor’s phone would have become a digital spy in his pocket, capable of employing his iPhone’s camera and microphone to snoop on activity in the vicinity of the device, recording his WhatsApp and Viber calls, logging messages sent in mobile chat apps, and tracking his movements.

We are not aware of any previous instance of an iPhone remote jailbreak used in the wild as part of a targeted attack campaign, making this a rare find.

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple has released iOS 9.3.5. Update ASAP.

About the security content of iOS 9.3.5

For our customers’ protection, Apple doesn’t disclose, discuss, or confirm security issues until an investigation has occurred and patches or releases are available. Recent releases are listed on the Apple security updates page.

For more information about security, see the Apple Product Security page. You can encrypt communications with Apple using the Apple Product Security PGP Key.
Apple security documents reference vulnerabilities by CVE-ID when possible.

iOS 9.3.5
Released August 25, 2016

Kernel
Available for: iPhone 4s and later, iPad 2 and later, iPod touch (5th generation) and later
Impact: An application may be able to disclose kernel memory
Description: A validation issue was addressed through improved input sanitization.
CVE-2016-4655: Citizen Lab and Lookout

Kernel
Available for: iPhone 4s and later, iPad 2 and later, iPod touch (5th generation) and later
Impact: An application may be able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges
Description: A memory corruption issue was addressed through improved memory handling.
CVE-2016-4656: Citizen Lab and Lookout

WebKit
Available for: iPhone 4s and later, iPad 2 and later, iPod touch (5th generation) and later
Impact: Visiting a maliciously crafted website may lead to arbitrary code execution
Description: A memory corruption issue was addressed through improved memory handling.
CVE-2016-4657: Citizen Lab and Lookout