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The Ministry of Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media of Russia announced a prohibition on the usage of Apple smartphones and tablets for its employees in any professional or work-concerned operation (1).
Announced by the Ministry Head Maxut Shadayev (2) by quoting, the ban only implies accessing Apple mobiles and tablets for work operations and correspondence and does not imply to personal levels.
Apple iPhones and iPads are available and running in the country for personal usage indicating the ban only implies government-based applications. Moreover, users with no Android devices will have to compromise working on their computers until the arrangements are made.
According to FSB, American intelligence agencies are plotting operations against Russian nationals via cyber force infecting malicious software on their Apple devices but Apple declined the claims of collaborative allegations.
Decoding the Ban
The Ministry of Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media of Russia released the ban on Apple devices two months after FSB's report indicating several Apple devices being compromised as a consequence of an espionage operation by the US.
What is FSB Russia?
The Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti (FSB) (3) or the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation is a regulated security agency and a successor of its popularly-known KGB, Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti or the Federal Counterintelligence Service.
Apple denied all the allegations of collaboration and cooperation with the US. National Security Agency and declined to comment on any further details about the claims for the present, quoting denial.
However, it was noted in a recent occurrence that a Russian court fined Apple for not deleting "inaccurate" content of what it claims to be the Soviet's "Special military operation" in Ukraine, during the ongoing wars.
Apple also paused all the distribution and sales of its products in Russia after the news leaked worldwide about the Soviets sending thousands of troops to Ukraine in 2022, showcasing its support for the European country and also limited Apple Pay service in Russia, which led to the beginning of the cold war.
Is the past enough to prove America's involvement?
According to FSB, American hackers have previously tried to compromise diplomats of prominent countries such as Israel, China, and other NATO members in the espionage campaign, but there aren't any official comments leaked to the concern by any of the following countries.
Moreover, it is acknowledged by Harvard University that the United States holds the world's top-most cyber power be it intent, information, capability, and execution abilities which is also a worthy point claiming suspicion.
The Russian officials are significantly raising concerns and stating "the hidden data collection was carried out through software vulnerabilities in US made mobile and tablets which poses concerns to act."
According to the Russian Ministry, American officials have been aggressively developing and implementing IT corporations for decades with the purpose of collecting massive data from internet users without their awareness, targeting Meta, Google, Wikipedia, and others (4).
The allegations against Apple and others were uncovered by the FSB and FSO (5), an active and significantly powerful Russian agency that operates the Kremlin bodyguard (6) and was also the Ninth Directorate of the KGB.
Russian officials have always questioned the security measures of US technology, as well as the manner in which Western spies constructed their ostensibly advanced domestic surveillance system.
The Kremlin continued, saying that officials in the presidential administration were aware of gadgets like iPhones being created transparently, but the current discoveries have wreaked mayhem within the government.
The Kremlin has also prohibited the use of Apple products in the run-up to Russia's presidential election in 2024, citing concerns that leaking sensitive information to Western spy agencies may lead to unfathomable consequences.