Rebecca Vineyard
August 26, 2016 11:50 am
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If you’re an Apple user, stop what you’re doing and download the newest update, like, yesterday.

Hopefully, you’ve got that update downloading right now, so we’ll give you the rundown on why it’s so vital: according to Fortune, a dangerous security flaw was recently discovered, and it could mean bad news for your phone if you fall victim to it.

Apple issued a brand new patch Thursday, after researchers discovered a previously unknown method of hacking: the first ever software that can remotely take over a fully up-to-date iPhone 6. UM, YIKES.

Human rights activist and UAE dissident Ahmed Mansoor was the target of this attempted hack, which used a text message that invited him to click on a web link. Thankfully, instead of clicking, Mansoor forwarded the text to researchers at Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto.

Experts at Citizen Lab, along with security company Lookout, examined the message and determined that clicking on the link inside would have installed a program on the phone by taking advantage of flaws in Apple’s programming.

Luckily these researchers disclosed the information right away, and Apple issued a brand new patch. If Mansoor had clicked on the link, though, what would have happened would be terrifying: his phone would essentially be used against him.

Citizen Lab described what the program would do: “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.”

While this is obviously a horrible breach on an individual’s privacy, that description also sounds like something out of a terrifying, dystopian sci-fi movie.

This isn’t the first time Mansoor has been targeted by hacking software, though- the recipient of the 2015 Laureate Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders has been previously targeted; his work championing freedom of expression as well as civil and political rights has made him unpopular with the governing forces of the UAE since 2006. Thankfully, though, Mansoor’s quick thinking kept him from falling victim to this hack — and protected iPhone users everywhere.

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