Amnesty International — part of the group that helped break the news of journalists and heads of state being targeted by NSO’s government-grade spyware, Pegasus — has released a tool to check if your phone has been affected. Alongside the tool is a great set of instructions, which should help you through the somewhat technical checking process. Using the tool involves backing up your phone to a separate computer and running a check on that backup. Read on if you’ve been side-eyeing your phone since the news broke and are looking for guidance on using Amnesty’s tool.
The story around Pegasus has likely left many of us regarding our phones with a bit more suspicion than usual, regardless of whether we’re likely to be targeted by a nation-state. While running the tool could (hopefully) help to ease some fears, it’s probably not a necessary precaution for many Americans. NSO Group has said its software cannot be used on phones with US numbers, according to The Washington Post, and the investigation didn’t find any evidence that US phones had been successfully breached by Pegasus.
While it’s nice to see that Amnesty made this tool available with solid documentation, it only really helps to address the privacy concerns around Pegasus. As we’ve seen recently, it doesn’t take a government targeting your phone’s microphone and camera to get private information — the data broker industry could be selling your location history even if your phone is Pegasus-free.Here’s how to check your phone for Pegasus spyware using Amnesty’s tool – The Verge