Union telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Tuesday downplayed the incident saying much of the information from Apple seems vague after several opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) raised an alarm over the warning messages they received on their iPhones of a possible "state-sponsored attack".
However, he said that the Centre takes its role of protecting the privacy of all citizens very seriously and an investigation into the matter will take place, adding that Apple has also been asked to cooperate.
Vaishnaw took to X to express his concern after media reports went rife with opposition MPs including the likes of Priyanka Chaturvedi, Mahua Moitra, Sashi Tharoor and Pawan Khera receiving similar messages highlighting "state-sponsored attack" from Apple.
In a series of posts, he said that the notifications received by them mention about "state-sponsored attacks" on their devices, but much of the information provided by Apple so far are vague and non-specific in nature.
He mentioned that "Apple states these notifications maybe based on information which is ‘incomplete or imperfect’. It also states that some Apple threat notifications maybe false alarms or some attacks are not detected."
"Apple has also claimed that Apple IDs are securely encrypted on devices, making it extremely difficult to access or identify them without the user's explicit permission. This encryption safeguards the user's Apple ID and ensures that it remains private and protected," he further wrote.
Ashwini Vaishnaw reiterated that the "Government of Bharat takes its role of protecting the privacy and security of all citizens very seriously and will investigate to get to the bottom of these notifications."
"In light of such information and widespread speculation, we have also asked Apple to join the investigation with real, accurate information on the alleged state-sponsored attacks," he concluded.
Meanwhile, technology giants Apple also issued a statement after the incident came to fore saying that the company does not attribute the threat notification to any specific state-sponsored attacker.
Apple's statement read, "Apple 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," it added.
It may be noted that the alerts from Apple received by several opposition MPs comes a year after the Supreme Court-appointed committee failed to find conclusive evidence of the presence of spyware 'Pegasus' in 29 phones it had analysed.
The panel had noted that the Centre did not cooperate with the probe and recommended new laws and measures to protect citizens from illegal surveillance and cyber attacks.
The panel had found some malware in five of the phones but there was no conclusive evidence to suggest it was Pegasus.