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"Opposition indulging in destructive politics": IT Minister on 'state-sponsored' hacking allegations

New Delhi: Responding to the claims of opposition leaders that they have received a warning message from Apple about 'state-sponsored attackers' potentially targeting their iPhones and other devices, Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Tuesday said that the people who cannot see the growth of the country are doing destructive politics.
The Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology said that such advisories have been sent to people in 150 countries.
"From the mail sent from Apple, it can be understood that they have no clear information, they have sent alerts on the basis of an estimate. This is vague. Apple has released a clarification that the allegations by compulsive critics are not true. Such advisories have been sent to people in 150 countries. The people who cannot see the growth of the country are doing destructive politics," Vaishnaw said in a press briefing.
The minister further said that this is a falsehood that some compulsive critics are trying to spread.
"Whenever these compulsive critics do not have any major issue, the only thing they say is surveillance. They tried this a few years back as well, we conducted a proper investigation, and the matter was supervised by the judiciary also but nothing came out of that including Priyanka Gandhi Vadra who said that her two children's phones were hacked but nothing of that sort happened. This is a falsehood that some compulsive critics are trying to spread," he 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.
Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, who is facing 'cash for query' allegations and has been summoned by the Lok Sabha Ethics Panel on the same, too, received the warning message from Apple.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi targeted the Modi government over the "Apple warning message" and said it was trying to divert the attention of people from real issues.
Addressing a press conference, he also targeted the government over the allegations pertaining to some business deals linked to the Adani group and said the "financial system of BJP is directly linked with him".
"As soon as Adani is touched, intelligence agencies, CBI, and snooping are used," the Congress MP said.
Referring to hacking allegations of opposition MPs, 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.
The Wayanad MP said that he is not scared and that the government "can do as much tapping of his device as it wants".
"Very few people are fighting against this but we are not scared. You can do as much (phone) tapping as you want, I don't care. If you want to take my phone, I will give it to you," he said.
Apple, an American multi-national, said 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. We are unable to provide information about what causes us to issue threat notifications, as that may help state-sponsored attackers adapt their behaviour to evade detection in the future," the company said.

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