Kismet iPhone and Pegasus: a deadly combo
Hackers can use Kismet iPhone to install Pegasus spyware on your iPhone. This spyware can access your data, activity, and conversations.
Kismet iPhone: How to protect your device from the most sophisticated spying attack using Pegasus spyware
Do you own an iPhone? Do you think it is safe and private? You might be wrong. Hackers have created a clever attack called Kismet iPhone that can infect your device with Pegasus, the world’s most powerful spyware, without you noticing. This spyware can steal your personal data, track your activity, and listen to your conversations. In this article, we will tell you how Kismet iPhone works, who is behind it, and how you can protect yourself from it.
What is Kismet iPhone?
Kismet iPhone is the name of the attack that hackers use to install Pegasus, the spyware, on iPhones. Kismet iPhone uses a technique called “watering hole”. It consists of infecting websites visited by the targeted users. These websites contain malicious code that detects if the user has an iPhone and which model. If so, the malicious code redirects the browser to a server that exploits zero-day flaws in iOS and Safari. These flaws allow to install Pegasus without the user noticing. Pegasus then runs in the background and communicates with a command and control server.
What is Pegasus?
Pegasus is the name of the spyware that Kismet iPhone installs on iPhones. Pegasus is one of the most powerful spyware in the world, developed by NSO Group, an Israeli company that sells spyware to governments and intelligence agencies. Pegasus can access almost everything on the infected iPhone, such as messages, photos, contacts, location, calls, passwords and even conversations near the microphone. Pegasus can also activate the camera and the microphone remotely, and record the screen. Pegasus can bypass encryption and security features of apps like WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, and others.
Who is behind Kismet iPhone and Pegasus?
Kismet iPhone and Pegasus are the work of NSO Group, an Israeli company that sells spyware to governments and intelligence agencies. NSO Group claims that its products are only used for legitimate purposes, such as fighting terrorism and crime. However, investigations have revealed that NSO Group has also targeted journalists, activists, lawyers, politicians and dissidents, violating their privacy and rights. NSO Group has been accused of being involved in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist, and the hacking of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.
Examples of victims of Kismet iPhone and Pegasus
According to a report by Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto, Kismet iPhone and Pegasus have been used to spy on at least nine Bahraini activists between June 2020 and February 2021. The activists were members of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights. They received text messages containing malicious links that attempted to infect their iPhones with Pegasus.
Another report by Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories, a non-profit media organization, revealed that Kismet iPhone and Pegasus have been used to target more than 50,000 phone numbers of people from various countries and professions. Among them were journalists, human rights defenders, lawyers, politicians, business executives, religious leaders, and celebrities. Some of the prominent names on the list were French President Emmanuel Macron, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi, Moroccan journalist Omar Radi, and Mexican journalist Cecilio Pineda Birto.
A third report by The Guardian, a British newspaper, exposed that Kismet iPhone and Pegasus have been used to spy on the civil rights movement in the United States. The report found that at least 15 people who were close to the Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson had their phones hacked with Pegasus in 2016. The report also found that Alaa Mahajna, a lawyer who represented the family of George Floyd, had his phone hacked with Pegasus in 2020.
These examples show that Kismet iPhone and Pegasus are not only used to spy on criminals and terrorists, but also on innocent people who exercise their rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly.
How to protect yourself from Kismet iPhone and Pegasus?
To protect yourself from Kismet iPhone and Pegasus, you need to update your iPhone with the latest version of iOS. Apple fixed the zero-day flaws exploited by Kismet iPhone in September 2020, making the attack ineffective. You also need to avoid clicking on suspicious links or visiting unsecured websites, which could be infected by malicious code. You need to use a VPN (virtual private network) to encrypt your internet connection and prevent potential spies from seeing your online activity. You can check if your iPhone has been infected by Pegasus by using a tool developed by Amnesty International, called MVT (Mobile Verification Toolkit).
Sources and downloads
If you want to learn more about the zero-day flaws used by Kismet iPhone and Pegasus, and how Apple fixed them, you can check the following sources:
- About iOS 15 updates – Apple Support: this site gives you the details of the iOS 15 updates, including the security patches provided by each version. You can also download the latest version of iOS 15 from this site, by going to “Settings” > “General” > “Software Update”.
- iOS 17.0.1 and iPadOS 17.0.1 updates are released with security fixes – iphonology.fr: this site informs you of the latest news on iOS and iPadOS, and explains how to install the security updates on your device.
- iOS 16 will offer security patches without updates to install – iphonesoft.fr: this site presents a new feature of iOS 16, which will allow Apple to remotely install security patches on your iPhone, without you having to do an update.
If you want to check if your iPhone has been infected by Pegasus, you can download the following application:
- MVT (Mobile Verification Toolkit)MVT (Mobile Verification Toolkit): this open source software allows you to analyze your iPhone and detect traces of Pegasus. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux, and requires some technical knowledge to use it. You can follow the user guide on the official project site.
Kismet iPhone and Pegasus are two of the most sophisticated and dangerous cyberattacks that target iPhone users. They can compromise your device and your data, without you being aware of it. To protect yourself from these attacks, you need to keep your iPhone updated, be careful with what you click and visit online, and use a VPN. You can also use a tool to detect if your iPhone has been infected by Pegasus. If you want to know more about Pegasus, the most powerful spyware in the world, you can read our dedicated article here: Pegasus: the cost of spying with one of the most powerful spyware in the world
However, you should know that the zero-day risk is always present, and that the economic stakes are huge for the companies that exploit these flaws to spy on their competitors or their adversaries. That is why Freemindtronic has specialized in counter-espionage tecnologiescounter-espionage tecnologies, which allow you to protect your data and your privacy against malicious intrusions. If you are interested in these solutions, you can visit our Freemindtronic website and discover the different technologies of counter espionage.