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Russia moves to ban iPhones for government officials after claiming they were hacked by the US

Charles R. Davis   

Russia moves to ban iPhones for government officials after claiming they were hacked by the US
  • Russian government ministries are beginning to ban officials from using Apple iPhones.
  • Russia's trade ministry will impose a ban starting Monday, the Financial Times reported.

Russian officials are being told to quit using iPhones after the country's intelligence service, without proof, accused Apple of helping the US government conduct espionage operations.

Beginning July 17, employees at Russia's trade ministry will no longer be allowed to use iPhones on the job, the Financial Times reported. At least one other ministry plans to follow suit, the outlet reported, as does the state oil company, Rostec.

In March, the Kremlin told officials to stop using Apple products, citing fears they were vulnerable to US hacking. Then, in June, the Russian government accused Apple of working with US intelligence agencies — a claim the company flatly denies — after a cybersecurity firm said iPhones running older versions of iOS had been infected with malware, The Washington Post reported, making them vulnerable to eavesdropping.

However, Russia's Federal Security Service, or FSB, has provided no evidence to support the claim and independent security experts have found no signs Apple has built in a "backdoor" exception to the device's encryption.

That's not to say there were no real security flaws. Following the Russian claims, Apple announced patches to its iOS software, crediting researchers at the Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab with identifying vulnerabilities.

The bans on official use will not impact regular consumers. Apple pulled out of the Russian market following last year's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. But the company's products continue to be imported from other countries. Russia's largest cellphone provider, MTS, lists the iPhone 14 as available for just over $1,200; a similar model, in the US, retails for $999.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com


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