Using VPN and 8 other popular tips that will not save your phone from Pegasus-like hacking


With spyware exploiting active zero-click attacks, it seems sophisticated spying tools like Pegasus are one step ahead of tech giants like Google, Apple, Microsoft and others. Apart from Pegasus, there are other potent spyware like Hornbill and Sunbird which you need to be careful about. Your phone may get infected by a spyware from a message that you receive or a missed call. So, what can you do when you get to know that your phone has been tracked? It’s highly recommended to not use the same phone when a Pegasus-like spyware has already been detected on it. This is because these spywares are programmed to stay hooked to your device no matter what remedy you apply. Doing the following won’t help you protect your phone from Pegasus-like hacking.

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​Can antivirus solution protect you against Pegasus-like spyware

No. Anti-virus apps are highly effective to protect your device from adware, malware, etc. But when it comes to Pegasus-like spyware,using an antivirus on an already infected smartphone is of little help because most antivirus and antivirus solutions available for common users are unable to identify Pegasus. While you may feel safe after using an antivirus solution, threats like Pegasus can still be functioning in your phone without your knowledge.

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​Will factory resetting your smartphone help you get rid of Pegasus from your phone

No. If you decide to hit the ‘Factory Reset’ button to get rid of a spyware like Pegasus then note that it would be no use. Reports highlight that Pegasus has the ability to carry out chip-level attacks making it stay in the phone even after the factory resetting it.

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​Will keeping your phone switch off help avoid Pegasus tracking you

Not really. Pegasus has the ability to record audio and use the camera even when the device is switched off as long as it can draw power from the battery. However, it may not be able to relay the data to it’s operators when the device is switched off. So, switching off your phone will not help you much as the moment you turn it on, the spyware will send the recorded data to its handlers.

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​Will using VPN on your smartphone help you protect against Pegasus

No. VPN or a virtual private network cannot help your phone from a Pegasus attack. This is because there are multiple delivery modes and you can get the spyware on your phone by simply being in close proximity with a malicious Bluetooth source. Pegasus can be installed even if the victim’s phone number is not known. In case the attacker doesn’t have the victims’ phone number or email ID, the Pegasus agent can be silently injected once the number is acquired using a tactical network element such as Base Transceiver Station (BTS).

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​Will changing getting a new SIM card in the same phone protect against Pegasus

No. As long as the device is infected by Pegasus, using a new SIM card on the same device will be of no help as the spyware will start extracting data from it as well.

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​Will turning off mobile data, Wi-Fi help

No. The speed of transmission of data by Pegasus from your phone may get slow, but it will not stop Pegasus as it has the ability to connect to tactical networking devices at a nearby listening post.

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​Will changing passwords of iCloud or Google account help

No. Changing passwords and using the same accounts on the infected phone will simply help the attackers get your new password details.

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​Will changing passcode or lock of your phone

No. Pegasus faces no interference from the passcode, face unlock, pattern or other kind of phone locking features. You may change passcodes as much you like but Pegasus will continue doing its job.

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​Will encrypting your phone help protect your phone from Pegasus

Not really. Encryption helps when your phone has been taken away from your possession and a third-party is trying to get your data. But in case of Pegasus, it stays in your phone. As the data is already decrypted when you’re using the phone, what you can see on your screen, Pegasus can see it as well and then pass it to its operators by taking screenshots secretly.

The only way to get rid of Pegasus from your phone is by destroying the phone, memory card and the SIM card completely. Get a new phone and a new SIM card with a different phone number and change passwords of your accounts.



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