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Security & privacy

Millions of iPhones are vulnerable to this scary new ‘zero-click’ hack

Most mobile phone users would be aware that technology isn’t as secure as manufacturers would like them to believe. Whether you are using an iPhone or Android, there is always a risk that something can be hacked, stolen, altered or infected.

Despite what Apple tells you, there have been numerous incidents where iPhones have been breached. Tap or click here if you think it’s time to get away from Big Tech.

The latest incident has been sending shockwaves through the tech community. Cybercriminals have launched a massive hacking and spying operation. Their targets? Prominent people, and some of them use iPhones.

Here’s the backstory

Pegasus might be one of the most recognizable creatures in Greek mythology, but the pure white divine horse also holds a dark secret. It was used to defeat the monstrous Chimera, so it is no coincidence that it is also the name of a devastating spyware tool.

The tool’s Chimera? Prominent public figures like journalists, royal family members, activists, politicians and business executives. Developed by the Israeli company NSO Group, the tool has allegedly been used by NSO clients for spying and hacking the iPhones of at least 37 journalists.

To breach iPhones, the tool reportedly employed a tactic called “zero-clicks.” It needs no interaction from the victim and can be sent through Apple’s iMessage system. Going back as far as 2018, the technique exploited several loopholes, where hackers could inject code to spy on targets.

But iMessage wasn’t the only iOS function exploited. According to the massive report from Amnesty International and 17 other media organizations, Apple Photos, FaceTime and Apple Music had also been targeted.

“These attacks have been observed as recently as July 2021. Amnesty International believes Pegasus is currently being delivered through zero-click exploits which remain functional through the latest available version of iOS at the time of writing (July 2021),” the investigative report details.

How this affects you

Your iPhone isn’t as secure as you think — which is why it is important to update your device regularly. Here’s how to update both an iPhone and iPad to the latest version:

Here’s how to update both an iPhone and iPad to the latest version:

  • On the home screen, tap Settings
  • Tap General
  • Select Software Update

If a software update is available, tap Download and Install. Once the download is completed, the update will be installed automatically. If it doesn’t, tap on the Install button.

At the time of the attacks, most victims were a fractional update behind the latest available version. It’s important to note that no devices on iOS 14.5 were breached, and Apple patched several of the report’s issues in previous versions.

You would also be incorrect in thinking that you aren’t a potential target. With enough money, determination and willpower, everybody is a target. The latest incident might have you looking at other messaging methods, and luckily there are some options.

Signal

Signal has risen in popularity over the last few months after WhatsApp announced it would share your data with Facebook. While it has since retracted the statement, the end-to-end encrypted messaging app has attracted millions of new users.

Available on: AndroidiOS

Telegram Messenger

Like Signal, Telegram has been around for some time but only recently saw a surge of new users. The communication tool has end-to-end encrypted text, video calling, VoIP and file sharing. Everything is also stored in the cloud, so nothing is kept on your physical device.

Available on: AndroidiOS

Threema

Also sporting the all-important end-to-end encrypted messages, Threema has been around since 2012. It doesn’t require you to have a phone number, and no identifiable personal information is linked to your account.

Available on: AndroidiOS

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