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iPhone update released to patch critical Pegasus vulnerability

Apple has released an important security update for iPhones and iPads, iOS 16.6.1, to patch a particularly malicious bug that could allow a hacker to take over your device with no action on your part.

The “zero-click, zero-day” exploit allows attackers to install NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, which could let them read a target’s text messages, listen in on calls, pilfer and transmit images, track their location and more.

Pegasus has been used by governments and authoritarian regimes around the world to spy on dissidents, journalists, and human rights activists. In 2021, an investigation by Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories revealed that Pegasus had been used to target over 50,000 people worldwide, including government officials, journalists, and activists.

The exploit was first discovered by Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. Citizen Lab reported the exploit to Apple in early August. Apple released iOS 16.6.1 just a few weeks later, which suggests that the company took the vulnerability very seriously.

In addition to releasing a security update, Apple has also advised users to enable Lockdown Mode if they are concerned about being targeted by Pegasus. Lockdown Mode is a special security feature that disables some features of the device, such as iMessage and FaceTime, but it also makes the device more secure.

To enable Lockdown Mode, go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Lockdown Mode. Tap “Turn on Lockdown Mode” and then follow the instructions on the screen.

If you have any concerns about your security, you should contact Apple support for more information.

In addition to the above, here are some other things you can do to protect yourself from Pegasus and other spyware:

  • Be careful about what links you click on and what attachments you open.
  • Keep your software up to date.
  • Use a strong password manager to create and store unique passwords for all of your online accounts.
  • Enable two-factor authentication on all of your accounts.
  • Be aware of the signs that your device may be infected with spyware, such as battery drain, unusual performance, and unexplained pop-ups.

By following these tips, you can help to protect your device from Pegasus and other spyware.

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