Apple has warned iPhone users across 92 countries of potential mercenary spyware attacks, emphasizing the serious nature of the threat. The tech giant sent out notifications on Wednesday, cautioning individuals that they might have been specifically targeted due to their profiles or professional roles. "This attack is likely targeting you specifically because of who you are or what you do," Apple stated, urging users to heed the warning with utmost seriousness.

Mercenary spyware attacks, distinguished by their complexity and rarity, typically involve elaborate schemes that could cost millions to orchestrate, focusing on a select group of individuals. Apple's alert highlighted the ongoing and global scope of these threats, with India among the reported countries affected. While it remains uncertain whether U.S. iPhone owners were targeted, Apple disclosed that individuals in a total of 150 countries have been notified of similar threats to date.

The alerts provided to users were stark, indicating that their devices might be under the siege of a spyware attack aimed at compromising their iPhones remotely. Apple clarified that the specificity of the attacks meant that individuals were chosen based on their identities or vocations, though the company withheld further details to prevent aiding potential attackers in evading future detection.

This isn't the first instance of Apple issuing such warnings; since 2021, users in over 150 countries have received similar notifications. Past alerts have included journalists and politicians in India, with the tech giant sending out notifications several times a year as part of its commitment to user security.

The threat notifications come amid escalating concerns over state-sponsored and mercenary cyber activities aimed at influencing political landscapes, particularly with several nations on the brink of elections. Apple's latest alerts, however, did not comment on the timing of these warnings.

Apple has transitioned from labeling these perpetrators as "state-sponsored" to the broader term "mercenary spyware attacks," signaling a shift in the nature of the threats. The company's communication to affected users underscored the sophistication and rarity of such attacks, likening them to operations involving Pegasus spyware from the NSO Group, known for its invasive capabilities.

The company assured users that the decision to send out these high-confidence alerts is based on rigorous internal threat-intelligence and investigations, designed to identify individuals targeted by these advanced spyware campaigns. While Apple admits that absolute certainty in such matters is unattainable, the seriousness with which these alerts are issued cannot be overstated.