Apple will send threat alerts to users targeted by Pegasus spyware

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Apple threat alert for Pegasus spyware
You'll see the alert by text message, email, and on the Apple ID website.
Image: Apple

Apple says it will send threat alerts to customers who potentially targeted by the NSO Group’s controversial Pegasus spyware.

Cupertino on Tuesday announced that it is suing NSO Group over the tools the Israeli company develops and sells to governments to spy on iPhone owners. Apple’s alerts to affected iPhone users are another effort to prevent software like Pegasus from going unnoticed.

Apple sues maker of infamous Pegasus spyware that targets iPhones

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Pegasus spyware FAQ
Apple is going to court to block further development of NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware.
Photo: NSO Group/Cult of Mac

Apple filed a lawsuit Tuesday against NSO Group, the company that makes Pegasus spyware used by some countries to hack into iPhones. Apple says the goal is to hold NSO Group “accountable for the surveillance and targeting of Apple users.”

NSO Group claims Pegasus is only used by governments to fight crime, but there are accusations that it’s being used it to hack the smartphones of activists, politicians, journalists and other individuals.

iOS 12.5.5 update blocks Pegasus spyware from older iPhones

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iOS 12.5.5 update blocks Pegasus spyware from older iPhones
Install iOS 12.5.5 on your older iPhone to protect it from the Pegasus spyware.
Photo: Андрей Сидоренко/Pixabay/Cult of Mac

iPhone models that can’t install iOS 14 or iOS 15 can still get protection from the infamous Pegasus spyware thanks to iOS 12.5.5. Apple released this update Thursday for devices as old as the iPhone 5s to close a security hole in active use by hackers.

The same update can also be installed on older iPad and iPod touch models.

Pegasus spyware is avoiding Apple’s security protections on iPhone

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Pegasus text message sent to iPhone
A Pegasus text message sent to one Bahraini activist.
Screenshot: Citizen Lab

The Pegasus spyware, developed by Israeli firm NSO Group, has successfully been avoiding security new measures built into iPhone to block such attacks.

One version of the “zero-click” exploit was installed on an iPhone 12 Pro belonging to a Bahraini human rights activist, despite the fact that the device was running recent versions of iOS 14 with Apple’s “BlastDoor” protection.

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.”

Facebook allegedly tried to buy Pegasus spyware to secretly track iPhone users

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Facebook Onavo Protect iOS
Facebook’s Onavo Protect did the opposite of protecting users. And it could have been more effective with Pegasus spyware.
Photo: Facebook

NSO Group accuses Facebook of trying to buy access to its Pegasus surveillance software so it could better track the activities of iPhone users.

The spyware supposedly would have gone into Onavo Protect, a VPN app Facebook pulled off the App Store back in 2018 for violating Apple’s data-collection policies.

UN alleges Saudi crown prince linked to hacking of Bezos’ iPhone

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iPhone X standing
Jeff Bezos’ iPhone X was allegedly hacked.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Allegations that the ruler of Saudi Arabia played a role in hacking Jeff Bezos’ phone made headlines around the world today. A forensic report indicates this was supposedly an iPhone X, and a WhatsApp account was used.

Bezos is more than the CEO of Amazon — he’s also the owner of The Washington Post, which has been critical of Mohammed bin Salman, the crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

New malware steals data from your device and cloud accounts

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Proposed bill could hold tech giants more accountable for child exploitation
Pegasus could be used by governments to spy on individuals.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

A new spyware tool reportedly can harvest data from iOS devices and their connected cloud accounts.

The tool, called Pegasus, also works with Android devices. The data it is able to gather even reportedly includes encrypted messages from third-party apps. It does this by fraudulently posing as the user to download their private content.