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How to stop your phone from being infected with spyware

Amora R Jelo

A SOPHISTICATED spyware is infecting iPhones with hackers gaining control over devices without any human interaction, a new report has revealed.

An investigation by Amnesty International has lifted the lid on spyware allegedly developed by Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group – used to target specific individuals.

Spyware usually lands on your phone from apps or programs installed


Spyware usually lands on your phone from apps or programs installedCredit: Getty – Contributor
There are ways to avoid spyware infecting your phone - and ways to remove it


There are ways to avoid spyware infecting your phone – and ways to remove itCredit: Getty

According to the probe, phones have been hacked using a so-called “zero-click” iMessage exploit and attacks exposed, for example, journalists and politicians who risk having their location and personal information monitored and potentially even used against them.

“Apple prides itself on its security and privacy features, but NSO Group has ripped these apart,” Amnesty International said in a statement, reports Fox Business.

“NSO Group can no longer hide behind the claim that its spyware is only used to fight crime.”

The report says a successful attack was recorded on a fully patched iPhone 12 running on iOS 14.6 in July.

“Apple unequivocally condemns cyberattacks against journalists, human rights activists, and others seeking to make the world a better place,” Ivan Krstić, head of Apple security engineering and architecture, told Fox Business.

“Attacks like the ones described are highly sophisticated, cost millions of dollars to develop, often have a short shelf life, and are used to target specific individuals.

“While that means they are not a threat to the overwhelming majority of our users, we continue to work tirelessly to defend all our customers, and we are constantly adding new protections for their devices and data.”


But there are ways to keep yourself protected from spyware and stop your phone from becoming infected with it.

Spyware – the most malicious being those that install software that changes your device setting and steal passwords – usually lands along with a program or app installed on your phone.

According to internet security company Kaspersky, spyware “often accompanies programs that are disguised as useful software, such as download managers, registry cleaners, and so on”.

Ways to detect spyware include spotting indicators such as an overheating phone, a battery that runs out too quickly, and messages that pop up while browsing the web.

There are several ways in which spyware can be wiped from phones, with anti-virus companies such as McAfee offering spyware removal apps.

Apps that you suspect may be causing issues can also simply be deleted from your device.

If problems continue, it may be necessary to do a factory reset of your phone, which will erase all data including the spyware – so long as the backup you use is dated before your phone became infected.

Another way to avoid spyware is to ensure your phone’s operating system it up-to-date, according to Avast, which offers internet security applications,

“Some iPhone spy software is effective only because of an iOS security flaw,” the company says.

“Hackers are always looking for software vulnerabilities to exploit, which Apple regularly fixes via Apple security updates.”

Thousands of iPhones in US potentially HACKED after Israeli firm’s spyware infected iPhone 11 and 12 models

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