It was discovered a malicious utility called Pegasus was created by the Israeli company NSO Group to spy on citizens of other countries.
Information security experts estimate that at least 50 000 devices have been infected across the globe. Although this number doesn’t seem to be very high, Pegasus can allow you to gain full control over your smartphone. You can read all correspondence, wiretap conversations and view photos and videos.
Pegasus can’t be detected by popular antiviruses, as it exploits zero-day vulnerabilities which are not known to antivirus developers.
Amnesty International, a human rights organization, has created a tool that can identify malware. It’s called MVT (Mobile Verification Toolkit), its source code can be found on GitHub.
MVT Utility is compatible with Android or iOS. However, there are not ready-made solutions to quickly install the application. These files must be built for a particular device. This can only be done on a Mac or Linux-based computer.
The utility creates a backup copy from the smartphone’s data on the computer, scans it for any signs of infection, and informs users if any information could be compromised or transferred to third parties.
This utility scans data transfer logs. It is here that infection indicators are most likely to be found. These logs are more easily found on iOS than Android. This utility is not recommended for those with technical knowledge or who suspect Pegasus may be tracking them.
Experts in information security believe this spyware is being used to target surveillance. This spyware infects smartphones not randomly, but only those belonging to people whose activities are relevant to the software’s creators. Pegasus licenses can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Therefore, surveillance is only done on people with valuable information (such as politicians, business leaders, or journalists from major publications).
Despite the Pegasus case being a big news story, many other spy app continue running silently to spy on their victims. Many programs are classified as legitimate apps or parental control. Stay safe and practice digital hygiene.