Researchers at Canada-based Citizen Lab found a vulnerability in Apple devices was used to spread spyware from Israeli cyber-intelligence group NSO.
The digital watchdog said it determined the flaw had been exploited to infect the Apple device of an employee of a Washington-based civil society group with NSO's Pegasus spyware.
Citizen Lab said the bug compromises iPhones running the latest iteration of iOS without any interaction from victims.
Citizen Lab's John Scott-Railton said, "This shows that civil society is once again serving as the early warning system about really sophisticated attacks."
The watchdog reported the flaw to Apple, which released security updates on its devices.
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