Everything you need to know about the Pegasus spyware infecting smartphones

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Pegasus spyware FAQ
And how to tell if your iPhone is infected.
Photo: NSO Group/Cult of Mac

NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware is making headlines again after it was reported that a number of governments around the world have been using it to hack the smartphones of activists, politicians, journalists and other individuals.

A list of potential surveillance targets, which includes more than 50,000 phone numbers, was leaked and obtained by a number of news outlets over the weekend, reigniting concerns over government surveillance.

So, what exactly is Pegasus? And who might be a potential target of an attack? How can you tell if your iPhone already fell victim to the spyware? We rounded up everything you need to know about Pegasus.

Pegasus spyware won’t affect ‘overwhelming majority’ of iPhone users, Apple says

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Fraudster steals $16k from victim posing as Apple tech support
Those misusing the Pegasus iPhone hacking tool allegedly work for governments around the world.
Photo: Donald Tong/Pexels CC

Amnesty International accuses governments around the world of using NSO Group’s Pegasus iPhone hacking tool to illegally spy on journalists and human rights defenders. Apple’s head of Security Engineering and Architecture condemns this type of hacking, but also says that such attacks “are not a threat to the overwhelming majority of our users.”

Companies line up to support Apple’s pro-privacy stance

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iPhone 6s
Apple is definitely on the side of the angels, according to many.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple might be a rival to other Silicon Valley tech giants, but that’s not stopping the likes of Microsoft, WhatsApp and Google defending Cupertino’s stance against helping the FBI hack an iPhone.

Check out the privacy-minded Apple lovefest from these big companies, as well as groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Amnesty International.

Check Out Amnesty International’s Haunting Campaign To End Wrongful Imprisonment Using Your iPhone’s “Slide To Unlock” [Video Gallery]

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In Sweden, international human rights and justice advocacy group Amnest International has launched a poignant advertising campaign called Slide to Unlock that uses custom iPhone and iPad wallpapers to try to raise awareness of the many innocent people wrongfully imprisoned around the world.

The campaign is as haunting as it is clever. Using free wallpapers, Amnesty International’s ads take advantage of the iPhone and iPad’s “slide to unlock” gesture and the ability to use different wallpapers on both your home and unlock screen to show the wrongfully imprisoned literally being freed by someone just opening their phone and sending a text.

The full series of ads below.