Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) IT Cell chief Amit Malviya on October 31, refuted the opposition’s claim of their phones being hacked by the Centre saying that it is “absolutely baseless.” Multiple political leaders have alleged that their Apple devices have been the victim of alleged hacking. The leaders shared the screenshot of the warning received on their Apple devices.
“Apple has clarified that they have sent several such notifications across the world. Approximately users in 150 counties have received such notifications and they are also not able to point out why such notifications have been triggered. So, for the Opposition to allege that this is being done at the behest of the government is absolutely baseless,” Amit Malviya said.
He further targeted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi saying that under the influence of foreign-funded agencies, he keeps raking these issues.
“Rahul Gandhi apparently under the influence of foreign-funded agencies keeps raking these issues but has never cooperated with the investigation. The Opposition does not have any issue to take on the Govt and therefore they are resorting to making these false allegations,” he added.
Earlier, BJP leader and Supreme Court Advocate Nalin Kohli replied to the opposition’s claim of their phones being hacked by the Centre and said “How can we assume that the Government of India has done this?”
Multiple political leaders have alleged that their Apple devices have been the victim of alleged hacking. The leaders shared the screenshot of the warning received on their Apple devices.
Speaking to media BJP leader Nalin Kohli said “There are very serious allegations against Mahua Moitra. For that, she will also have to go before the Parliament’s Ethics Committee and have to answer. Was her email address used to harm one business and benefit another? These are all serious allegations. Now she is talking about phone hacking. If someone tries to hack, a notification comes immediately on the phone. How can we assume that the Government of India has done this? On what basis is she saying this?”
“This is an attempt to divert attention. Also, it is possible that she herself tried to hack her phone? This may also be possible,” Nalin Kohli added.
Meanwhile, AAP MP Raghav Chaddha also got the alleged hacking notification on his phone and claimed that this was an attack on the people of India.
“Early this morning I received a concerning notification from Apple, warning me about a potential state-sponsored spyware attack on my phone. These attacks are not on me as an individual, or one opposition party but the common people of India. As it is not about my phone or my data alone. Every Indian needs to be worried. Because today it is me, tomorrow it could be YOU” the AAP MP said.
BJP MP Nishikant Dubey while replying to Mahua Moitra’s claim that her phone had been hacked, said that the MP should immediately give her mobile phone to Delhi police for investigation.
“Is there no work left for the Government of India now? This crocodile tear of the MP accused of mortgaging national security for a few rupees really makes me laugh. Delhi Police should immediately take the mobile phone of the Honourable MP and investigate, the MP should immediately file a case for violation of privacy, and he should not run away after making allegations like Rahul Gandhi ji. He also talked about mobile tape but did not give the phone,” Nishikant Dubey said on X.
भारत सरकार को अब कोई काम नहीं बचा है? राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा को चंद पैसों के लिए गिरवी रखने वाली आरोपी सांसद का यह घड़ियाली ऑंसू सचमुच मुझे हंसने पर मजबूर करता है । दिल्ली पुलिस को तुरंत माननीय सांसद का मोबाइल लेकर जॉंच करनी चाहिए,सांसद को तुरंत Privacy हनन के लिए Case करना…
— Dr Nishikant Dubey (@nishikant_dubey) October 31, 2023
Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi, who also claimed alleged hacking of her phone alleged that this is a sponsored program of the Union Government.
“The way I received a warning last night, shows that this is a sponsored program of the Union Government and that I need to take precautions. The warning clearly says that these attacks are ‘state-sponsored’. Why are the leaders of the Opposition only getting such messages? This shows that large-scale surveillance is underway. There should be an investigation on this, and the Centre needs to give a clarification on the same,” Priyanka Chaturvedi told media.
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi also shared the screenshot of the alleged hacking, where he said “Received an Apple Threat Notification last night that attackers may be targeting my phone.”
According to the Apple support page on its website, State-sponsored attacks are highly complex, cost millions of dollars to develop and often have a short shelf life. The vast majority of users will never be targeted by such attacks.
After a major controversy erupted between the ruling party and the opposition leaders over the alleged hacking of their phones, Apple officially announced that it does not attribute the threat notifications to any specific state-sponsored attacker.
“State-sponsored attackers are very well-funded and sophisticated, and their attacks evolve over time. Detecting such attacks relies on threat intelligence signals that are often imperfect and incomplete. It’s possible that some Apple threat notifications may be false alarms, or that some attacks are not detected,” Apple said in a statement.
The tech giant further said that they are unable to provide information about what causes them to issue threat notifications, as that may help state-sponsored attackers adapt their behaviour to evade detection in the future.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi targeted the Modi Government over the “Apple warning message” received by Congress and some other opposition leaders and said it was trying to divert the attention of people from real issues.
Referring to hacking allegations of opposition MPs and alerts on their devices from Apple, the Congress leader said a number of people in his office have got this message.
“KC Venugopal, Supriya, Pawan Khera, Sitaram Yechury, Akhilesh Yadav, and Priyanka Chaturvedi have got it too. They (BJP) are trying to distract the attention of the youth,” Rahul Gandhi said.
Earlier in the day, several opposition leaders of different political parties including Shashi Tharoor, Raghav Chadha, Priyanka Chaturvedi, Asaduddin Owaisi and others alleged that their Apple devices have been the victim of alleged hacking.
The leaders shared the purported screenshots of the warning received on their Apple devices. Apple says if it discovers activity consistent with a state-sponsored attack, it will notify the targeted users in two ways. A Threat Notification will be displayed at the top of the page after the user has signed in to appleid.apple.com. Additionally, Apple will send an email and iMessage notification to the email addresses and phone numbers associated with the user’s Apple ID.
(with inputs from ANI)