By FRANK BAJAK, Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — Apple released a critical software patch to fix a security vulnerability that researchers said could allow hackers to directly infect iPhones and other Apple devices without any user action.

Security researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab said the flaw was exploited to plant spyware on a Saudi activist’s iPhone, and warned that it could allow hackers to similarly infect other Apple devices without any user action.

The researchers said the flaw was exploited by the world’s most infamous hacker-for-hire firm, Israel’s NSO Group; the company responded with a one-sentence statement saying it will continue providing tools for fighting “terror and crime.”

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