Do you think your Apple iPhone and iPad devices are safe from spyware? Wait. There actually is a malware in the wild that targets Apple iOS users too, a study warned on Friday. Apple iPhone and iPad users believe they are safe as iOS has additional encryption and data protection features to safeguard user data. But according to Moscow-based cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab, “Pegasus” spyware is capable of hacking any iPad or iPhone devices. “Pegasus” harvests data about the victim and establish surveillance on them. It was discovered by Ahmed Mansoor, a UAE-based human rights activist who happened to be one of its targets. The spyware has been attributed to the NSO Group, an Israeli company which develops spyware.
“When news of the iOS version of ‘Pegasus’ got out, Apple was quick to react. The company issued an iOS security update (9.3.5) that patched the vulnerabilities,” said Altaf Halde, Managing Director, Kaspersky Lab (South Asia). “Google, which helped investigate the case with the Android version, took another path and notified potential ‘Pegasus’ targets directly. If you’ve updated your iOS gadgets to the latest software version and haven’t received a warning message from Google, you are probably safe and not under surveillance by Pegasus,” Halde added.
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In a spear-phishing attack, Mansoor received several messages that contained malicious links so he sent those messages to security experts from Citizen Lab and they brought another cybersecurity firm, Lookout, to the investigation. The malware was dubbed “Pegasus” and Lookout researchers called it the most sophisticated attack they’d ever seen on any endpoint. At Kaspersky Lab’s Security Analyst Summit, researchers from Lookout revealed that Pegasus exists not only for iOS but for Android as well. The Android version is very similar to its iOS sister in terms of its capabilities, but different in terms of the techniques it uses to penetrate the device. “Pegasus” for Android does not rely on zero-day vulnerabilities. Instead, it uses a well-known rooting method called “Framaroot”.