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After first being discovered in 2016, Israel-based NSO Group and its notorious Pegasus spyware have caused chaos. This ranges from exploiting WhatsApp flaws, all the way through to the Bezos hack.
The latest chapter in this book of mayhem impacts Apple,. Today the company has issued an emergency security update for iPhones, Macs, and Apple Watches to plug a potential vulnerability that Pegasus could’ve exploited. A quick PSA: Update your Apple devices now.
Before we get into the details of that, let’s recap what Pegasus is all about.
What is Pegasus?
It’s spyware developed by Israel-based NSO group that could reside on your phone, and capture all your data. It’s a piece of software that you wouldn’t be able to detect, and it can potentially look at all your messages and listen to all your calls.
The spyware is known as “zero-click remote execution” malware. That means cybercriminals could install it on your device without needing any interaction from your side.
Whom has it impacted?
Last year, WhatsApp sued NSO Group for possibly infecting phones of more than 1,400 activists and journalists across the world. The spyware allegedly played a key role in Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder by Saudi Arabia.
In July, a consortium called the Pegasus Project uncovered new information, including alleged government involvements, and a list of potentials that could’ve been targeted with the spyware. Amnesty International tested 67 phones, out of which 37 were found to have the Pegasus spyware installed on them.
The organization also issued a tool for you to check if your phone was affected by the spyware. You can read more about it here.
What’s Apple’s update about?
Apple‘s security update report notes that the now plugged bug could’ve been exploited by a specially crafted PDF file. That means, since Citizen Labs’ discovery in March, Apple products such as iPhones and iPhones have been vulnerable to Pegasus.
How to update your devices?
- iPhone or iPad: Go to Setting > General, and tap on Software updates. You should download the iOS 14.8 or iPadOS 14.8 packages.
- Apple Watch: If your Apple Watch is connected to Wi-Fi, go to the Settings app, and head to General > Software Update. The version number for the new security update is WatchOS 7.6.2.
- Macs: On the menu bar, click on the Apple icon, and then click on About this Mac. Select the Software Update option. The security update version number is MacOS 11.6.
If you’re using any of these Apple devices, you should update them right now.