Apple on Monday released emergency security updates after news about an Israeli cyber surveillance company's spyware could infect iPhones and other devices without the owner even clicking on a link.

It is reportedly said that the fix to the intrusion by the NSO Group's Pegasus software came a day before Apple expected to introduce its latest crop of iPhones. The company touts the security and privacy of its smartphones among its key selling points.

In a way, the security flaw was first discovered by researchers at watchdog group Citizen Lab, which found that a phone of a Saudi political activist had been infected with the Pegasus spyware via iMessage.

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According to The Washington Post, the device had been hacked using a "zero-click" method that had allowed the spyware to live on the Saudi's phone since February without detection.

The report further said that the same security flaw would enable the software to infect other Apple iPhones, watches and MacBooks.

Speaking to the New York Times, an Apple spokesperson said that it is planning to add new spyware barriers to its next software update, due out later this year.

Apple's security team has been "working around the clock to develop a fix," the Times writes.

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In a statement, Ivan Krstić, head of Apple Security Engineering and Architecture said, "After identifying the vulnerability used by this exploit for iMessage, Apple rapidly developed and deployed a fix in iOS 14.8 to protect our users."

"Attacks like the ones described are highly sophisticated, cost millions of dollars to develop, often have a short shelf life, and are used to target specific individuals.

"While that means they are not a threat to the overwhelming majority of our users, we continue to work tirelessly to defend all our customers, and we are constantly adding new protections for their devices and data."

Earlier, the NSO Group's Pegasus software made news this summer after an international consortium of investigative journalists revealed it had become a valuable tool for governments to spy on journalists and critics.