Was your phone infected by Pegasus spyware? Here is a way to find out for free

A huge controversy has exploded over use of Pegasus spyware to target users smartphones.
| Updated on Jul 20 2021, 10:15 AM IST
A tool is available that can quickly identify if your phone was compromised by the NSO Group’s infamous Pegasus spyware. Here’s everything you need to know.
A tool is available that can quickly identify if your phone was compromised by the NSO Group’s infamous Pegasus spyware. Here’s everything you need to know. (Pixabay)

Pegasus, the surveillance tool used to spy on citizens by infecting their phones with spyware, has grabbed the attention of the world since Sunday, when reports of people being targeted using the software emerged. The Pegasus spyware, developed by NSO Group is in the middle of a huge controversy for targetting smartphone users. Pegasus software is able to gain vast amounts of information from a user and monitor them at will, without their ever coming to know about it.

Fortunately, a tool is available that can tell smartphone users whether their device has bee infected by the Pegasus spyware. TechCrunch reports that the researchers at Amnesty International have published a tool that can help users identify if their phones have been infected by the Pegasus spyware. It is called the Mobile Verification Toolkit.

Also read: Looking for a smartphone? Check Mobile Finder here.

What is the Mobile Verification Toolkit?

The Mobile Verification Toolkit has been designed by Amnesty researchers to work on Android and iPhone, by identifying if a device has been tampered with and looking for telltale signs that it has been compromised by the Pegasus spyware. The researchers say that on iPhone, there are more signs that a phone has been compromised compared to Android. However, the tool is able to detect and estimate if there are any indicators of compromise (IOC) used by the spyware maker to infect the device.

How does MVT work on iPhones and Android smartphones?

The MVT is able to read an iPhone backup and check for any sign that the device was compromised, such as Pegasus-related domains which may show up in the device backup, then informs the user if any such IOC was detected. When it comes to Android devices, the tool will check your backup for any links to NSO Group’s domains sent via SMS, while verifying the integrity of all the apps on your device to check if they have been compromised.

MVT availability and cost

Amnesty has provided MVT for free on GitHub, but at the moment, it relies on a command-line interface (CLI) which means that the average user might not find it very user friendly. Users who are comfortable typing in commands can try the feature out to check their devices if they have been affected by the Pegasus spyware. A good place to start reading is the official documentation by the researchers, which includes explanations for how the tool works and how to use it.

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First Published Date: 20 Jul, 10:15 AM IST
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