Apple has taken swift action to address two zero-day vulnerabilities that were exploited by the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. Researchers from Citizen Lab at The University of Toronto discovered an actively exploited zero-click vulnerability used to deliver Pegasus spyware to iPhones running the latest iOS version (16.6).
One vulnerability (CVE-2023-41064) affected various Apple devices, making them vulnerable to attack when processing a maliciously crafted image. The other flaw (CVE-2023-41061) was found in the Wallet function of Apple devices, creating security issues when handling malicious attachments. Apple has urged all users to update their operating systems to fix these vulnerabilities.
These zero-day vulnerabilities were identified during a check of a device belonging to an individual employed by a Washington DC-based civil society organization, highlighting the targeted nature of the attacks.
Citizen Lab promptly reported its findings to Apple and assisted in the investigation. The company released software updates for macOS Ventura, iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS to patch these vulnerabilities. Although the patches were not labeled as a Rapid Security Response, they are crucial for addressing the security flaws.
This disclosure marks the 13th zero-day vulnerability patched by Apple in 2023, emphasizing the ongoing challenges posed by advanced threat actors. It’s not the first time Apple has revealed zero-days linked to spyware campaigns; in June, two bugs were fixed that were exploited in a campaign attributed to the Russian government.
Additionally, a separate Rapid Security Response in July required a patch redo after the initial version disrupted website displays. These incidents highlight the importance of timely software updates to protect against evolving cyber threats.