According to the researchers, the two vulnerabilities were chained as part of a zero-click exploit, named BLASTPASS, used in attacks on iPhones running the latest version of iOS (16.6).
Citizen Lab reported that the exploit was used to install the Pegasus Spyware on the device belonging to an individual employed by a Washington DC-based civil society organization with international offices.
The experts reported that the exploit involved PassKit attachments containing malicious images that were sent to the victim from an attacker’s iMessage account.
“Last week, while checking the device of an individual employed by a Washington DC-based civil society organization with international offices, Citizen Lab found an actively exploited zero-click vulnerability being used to deliver NSO Group’s Pegasus mercenary spyware.” reads the report published by Citizen Lab” “We refer to the exploit chain as BLASTPASS. The exploit chain was capable of compromising iPhones running the latest version of iOS (16.6) without any interaction from the victim.
The exploit involved PassKit attachments containing malicious images sent from an attacker iMessage account to the victim.”
The researchers plan to publish technical details about the BLASTPASS exploit chain in the future.
Citizen Lab recommends iPhone users immediately update their devices. The organization pointed out that civil society is continuously targeted by threat actors using highly sophisticated exploits and spyware.
Apple has already patched 13 actively exploited zero-day vulnerabilities in 2023, below is the list of the flaws fixed by the company:
(SecurityAffairs – hacking, zero-day)