Spying on devices in real time, recording conversations, reading out location data and secretly activating microphones and cameras – these are just a few of Pegasus’ specialties. The surveillance software from the Israeli NSO Group can break the encryption of messenger apps. The spyware has been sold to authorities around the world in the past few months, and the BKA is also said to have struck. Apple is now using an update to close a security hole that allowed the installation of Pegasus on iPhones and iPads.
Pegasus gap exploited since February 2021
The vulnerability was discovered by researchers from the Citizen Lab organization, as reported by the Süddeutsche Zeitung. They found it while analyzing the smartphone of an activist from Saudi Arabia, which is said to have been infected with the surveillance software. According to Citizen Lab, the vulnerability has been exploited since at least February 2021. According to Apple, the exploitation of the security hole takes place via a prepared PDF file.
With the update to iOS 14.8, Apple is pushing the whole thing forward only hours put a stop to the presentation of new iPhones. To install the 350 megabyte update, iPhone users should display it under “Settings -> General -> Software update”. Then click on “Load and Install”. Protection against a Pegasus installation only takes place once the update has been installed. Incidentally, Apple does not specifically point out Pegasus, only that the update contains “important security updates” and is recommended to all users.
Oppositionist and journalist : monitored inside
Pegasus and provider NSO were last criticized when it became known that hundreds Journalists, human rights activists, opposition activists and politicians are said to have been selected to be monitored with the spy software. Traces of attacks with the Pegasus software were found on 37 smartphones. NSO had rejected the allegations. The software is sold exclusively to law enforcement authorities and secret services in order to prevent crimes and acts of terrorism and thus to save human lives.