Pegasus Whatsapp spyware – are you at a risk?

There may be no such thing as the perfect security but that is no excuse for passivity. There are practical steps you can take to reduce your risk of attack and protect yourself against spyware, such as NSO’s. There is new evidence that suggests that the Pegasus WhatsApp spyware made by Israeli company NSO group was used against lawyers, journalists, business executives and activists. Pegasus is a malware designed to infect iPhone and Android devices, enabling operators of the tool to extract messages, record calls, emails, photos and activate microphones secretly.

 Investigations by media organizations have suggested that this hacking software is being abused, which the company insists is only being used for terrorists and criminals. The spyware plays in the hands of malicious hackers; however, you can defend yourself from the spyware by following operational security techniques such as:

  • Only open links from known contacts and trusted sources when using your device. Pegasus is installed to devices via a WhatsApp link, and the same technique is used by cybercriminals for distributing malware. The links can be sent via email and other messaging applications, also.

  • Make sure that your device is upgraded with a standardized version of the operating system to create a stable base for attackers to target, this will be your best defense. If you are using Android, check for latest versions yourself. Don’t rely on system notifications as your device’s manufacturer may not be providing updates.

  • Practice device compartmentalization, for example, using separate devices for separate apps.

  • Limit physical access to your phone with finger, pin, or face-locking on your device.

  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi services including in hotels, especially while accessing sensitive information. Install a VPN for when you need to use such networks.

  • Encrypt data on your device and where available, enable remote-wipe features. You will have some reassurance that your data is safe if your device is lost or stolen.
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