Last week Google disclosed a large-scale hacking effort that it said targeted users of Apple devices. It was a bombshell story.

But now Apple has gone on the attack – angry in public, and absolutely incensed in private at what is being seen as something of a stitch up. Google is standing by its research.

In a statement posted on Friday, Apple took issue with Google’s characterisation that this was a broad attack on all iPhone users.

“Google’s post, issued six months after iOS patches were released, creates the false impression of ‘mass exploitation’ to ‘monitor the private activities of entire populations in real time,’ stoking fear among all iPhone users that their devices had been compromised,” it reads.