Is iPhone Pegasus proof? No, not completely

Pegasus has not only raised concerns regarding the protection of data and privacy, but it has also raised questions on the Apple devices which claim to provide users better privacy and data safety.

Pegasus – the winged divine horse from Greek mythology is now the talk of the town lately. But this time for all the wrong reasons. From being a horse of mythological importance to the horse that is imposing a threat on the privacy and personal liberty of various individuals, Pegasus is making the global headlines recently.

The arrival of Pegasus has not only raised concerns regarding the protection of data and privacy, but it has also raised questions on the Apple devices which claim to provide users better privacy and data safety. After the news of the Pegasus spyware was confirmed by Amnesty International, it was revealed that the spyware has not only attacked Android phones but has made iPhones equally vulnerable.

Despite Apple’s claims regarding the security of its phones, even iPhones were detected vulnerable to the infiltration caused by the Pegasus spyware. During the Pegasus Project investigation, it was also revealed that the Israeli spyware was even detected on iPhones, the phones that guarantee privacy and data protection.

The findings of the investigation

According to Amnesty International, Pegasus has been used to potentially target around 50,000 phone numbers in the last several years. The spyware is believed to infect the mobile phones of individuals from about 45 countries, including India.

During the forensic examination of about 67 phones, if they were infected or attacked with the Israeli spyware – Pegasus, it was found that about 37 of these phones were iPhones. On further investigation, it was revealed that 24 of these 37 iPhones showed evidence of a successful Pegasus attack. While the other 13 phones are believed to be attacked but there is no clarity on whether the attack on these phones was successful or not.

Does this mean Androids are better than iPhones?

Absolutely not. These findings in no way tell that Androids can be preferred over iPhones when it comes to data protection. Also, one of the major reasons why Amnesty International in its investigative report specifically pointed towards iPhones is because for the past few years Apple is marketing its phones under the name of data security and safety.

Many people trust iPhones and prefer them over Androids majorly because they believe that iPhones or iOS devices can guarantee them the data protection they want.

Also, specific to Android phones, Amnesty International highlighted the fact that because of the poor capacity of Androids at retaining security logs, therefore finding conclusive proof of whether the phones were attacked by Pegasus or not becomes more complicated than iPhones.

How exactly iPhones were attacked?

It is important to note that the Pegasus spyware developed by Israel’s NSO Group used ‘zero-click attacks’ for iPhones. In fact, Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime communications apps, the Apple Music streaming service, and Safari web pages were used to infiltrate the iPhones. Despite security claims made by Apple, there still exists smaller gaps that made it easy for the Israeli spyware company, NSO to gain access to the smartphone.

Once entered into the phone’s environment, the Pegasus gains full access to the targeted smartphone’s data, messages, location and contact lists, along with stored audio, video, and photo files.

 

 

Author: Mahima Joshi

Mahima Joshi is a writer at The Wonk. She is a postgraduate in Journalism, who is just curious about everything that is happening around. She is an enthusiastic reader especially concerning gender dynamics in mythological stories.

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