This has been a busy week for security news, but perhaps the most significant security and privacy story to break this week (if not this year), is about how NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware has been used by a number of governments to infect and spy on journalists and activists and even heads of state by sending an invisible, silent attack to their iPhone that requires no user interaction. This attack works even on new, fully-patched phones, and once the phone is compromised, the attacker has full remote control over the phone including access to the file system, location, and microphone and cameras.
What’s particularly scary about spyware in general, and is true for Pegasus as well, is that victims have no indication they’ve been compromised. Due to how locked down the iPhone is from the end user, detecting Pegasus in particular requires expert forensics techniques. This has left many at-risk iPhone users wondering whether they too are compromised and if so, what do they do?
The infosec industry is prone to ambulance chasing. After every major security incident you can count on your Inbox filling with emails from vendors claiming they could have stopped it. As a result I typically wait weeks if not months after a security incident to publish my thoughts so I can avoid even the appearance of ambulance chasing.
However, we have had customers ask us about this incident and whether our hardware would be vulnerable, so instead of writing a lot of individual replies, I figured it was better to go ahead and publish something on how we approach defending against spyware in general. Even though Pegasus doesn’t work on our products, our defense would apply to it and any other spyware that was ported to our platform.
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