How to see if your iPhone is infected with Pegasus spyware

Apple has filed a lawsuit against the NSO Group, the maker of surveillance software, in the ongoing dispute between the iPhone maker and the Pegasus spyware. Apple said in a statement that it is seeking a permanent injunction to prevent NSO Group from utilizing the iPhone maker's hardware, software, or devices in order to safeguard its users from "future misuse and injury."The malware may be remotely put on a target's iPhone or iPad, giving the person or organization that installed it complete control over the device and all of its data – without the owner's knowledge or consent. This includes text messages, emails, and even phone calls that are recorded. 

The NSO Group, which created Pegasus, originally planned and marketed it to track criminals and terrorists

In September, Apple released an iPhone security patch, iOS 14.8. This patch addressed a vulnerability that was allegedly exploited by NSO Group's invasive spyware.

While it's unlikely that a government agency would install Pegasus on your iPhone to watch your actions, there is a free tool that allows you to check your iPhone or iPad with a few clicks if you're intrigued. To be clear, the chances of the Pegasus spyware infecting your iPhone or iPad are slim. However, if you want to be safe — just in case — here's what you should do in addition to installing the iOS update.

On your Mac or PC, download and install the iMazing program.

Amnesty International's Mobile Verification Toolkit, which was created to detect symptoms of Pegasus on a smartphone, has been included to iMazing's desktop app. The company does not charge a fee to use the feature.

From the company's website, you can download iMazing for your computer. Don't be concerned about purchasing the app: You can use the free trial to run the full spyware test.

Install and launch iMazing. Select the free trial option when offered.How to scan your iPhone or iPad using Pegasus Spyware

Connect your iPhone or iPad to the computer once iMazing is installed and running. Before proceeding, you may need to input your device's Lock Screen code to approve the connection (something to keep in mind if your iPhone or iPad isn't showing up in iMazing).

Next, scroll down the right-hand side of iMazing's action options until you see Detect Spyware; select it.

A new window will open that will walk you through the steps. The application works by first creating a local backup of your device (so make sure you have enough storage space), and then evaluating that backup. Because it's an automatic task, you won't have to keep an eye on it once you've started it.

As you click through each screen, iMazing recommends leaving all of the default settings in place. Advanced users will appreciate the tool's tweaking possibilities, but for most of us (including me), the default configuration settings will suffice.

After you've completed the basic setup, you'll need to accept the tool's license and then click the Start Analysis button.

Once the process begins, keep your iPhone or iPad connected until it is completed. I did the test on my iPhone 12 Pro, and the backup took about 30 minutes to make and another five minutes to evaluate. I had to input my account password after the backup was produced in order for iMazing to begin analyzing the file. As a result, I propose that you run the tool and check on it after a while.

Once iMazing has started analyzing your device's backup, it will show you its progress by displaying each individual app it is examining, beginning with iMessage. The program makes use of a database of "malicious email addresses, links, process names, and file names."

When iMazing is finished, an alert will appear with the results. In my instance, there were no indicators of infection and no alerts on my iPhone 12 Pro. The alert also has two buttons for opening or revealing the report. When I glanced over my report, I found a slew of odd links that meant nothing to me.

The program makes use of a database of "malicious email addresses, links, process names, and file

What should you do if the iMazing software reports that your device is infected?

First and foremost, do not panic. It's possible that it's a false positive. If this occurs, iMazing requests that you email the report (click Reveal Report to access the file directly) to its customer care staff for additional examination. However, if you or a family member are involved in a "politically sensitive environment" and have a positive report, the business recommends that you remove your SIM card and turn off your iPhone or iPad immediately.

Even if your phone is not compromised, you should apply the most recent update for your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac, which fixes the vulnerability.


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