Recently, spyware named Pegasus which was created by the Israeli company NSO Group for enforcement agencies and intelligence services is widely used to spy on residents of various countries secretly.
According to information security specialists, a minimum of 50 thousand devices is infected around the world. Currently, few people have been victims of this spyware, but Pegasus is extremely dangerous – it allows you to require full control of the smartphone, secretly read correspondence, wiretap phone conversations, view photos and videos.
Since Pegasus Spyware malware exploits zero-day vulnerabilities thus updated antiviruses cannot detect Pegasus.
The human rights organization Amnesty International has developed a utility that permits you to spot this malware. It is called MVT (Mobile Verification Toolkit), and its ASCII text file is out there on GitHub.
The MVT utility is compatible with Android and iOS, but there are not any ready-made solutions for the fast installation of the appliance. They need to be compiled for a selected device, which may be done only on a computer with Linux or macOS. This Mobile Verification Toolkit scans all data and checks if the device is infected with the Pegasus spyware, and provides a detailed report to the user about data or the information of the particular device that might be compromised and transferred to 3rd parties.
This utility, especially, scans data transfer logs – it’s there that infection indicators can presumably be found (information about sending calls history, SMS, IM messages, and other things to a remote server). Android keeps its logs stored for less time rather than IOS Apple devices, that’s why it’s much easier to detect the Pegasus spyware on the iPhone. This Mobile Verification Toolkit should only be recommended for tech-savvy users or those that suspect Pegasus is tracking them.
Moreover, information security experts believe that this spyware is employed for targeted surveillance. Pegasus Spyware is being infected only to specific people whose activities are of interest to people. For updated path or software of Pegasus costs many thousands of dollars, so surveillance is particularly administered on those with valuable information (for example, politicians, business leaders, or journalists of major publications).
Along with Pegasus Spyware there, are many other spy apps that still run silently. So we should start keeping our cyber hygiene and be safe.
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