Kaspersky Unveils Innovative Method to Detect Spyware on iOS Devices


In an era where digital privacy is continually under threat, the detection and prevention of spyware on our devices have never been more critical. Kaspersky, a leading cybersecurity firm, has recently introduced a ground breaking method for identifying spyware, including the infamous Pegasus software by The NSO Group, on Apple iOS devices. This development, detailed by Kaspersky’s Senior Security Researcher Maher Yamout, offers a glimmer of hope in the ongoing battle against unauthorized surveillance.

The Breakthrough: Shutdown.log Analysis

The core of Kaspersky’s method lies in analyzing a log file known as Shutdown.log, present on all mobile iOS devices. This file, which records various system activities, has been identified as a potential goldmine for detecting traces of spyware. According to Yamout, the Shutdown.log file can retain entries for several years, serving as a crucial forensic artifact for spotting anomalous activities that might indicate a spyware infection.

This innovative approach is hailed for its simplicity and
efficiency, providing both users and cybersecurity professionals with a more
accessible means of identifying potential spyware infections. The process
involves examining the Shutdown.log for specific filesystem paths associated
with known spyware, such as /private/var/db/ for Pegasus and /private/var/tmp
for Predator.

The Scourge of Spyware

Spyware like Pegasus has been a significant concern for
privacy advocates worldwide. Developed by Israel’s NSO Group, Pegasus can
clandestinely infiltrate iOS and Android devices, harvesting a wide array of
data and transmitting it back to its operators. While NSO Group claims its
software is intended for combating terrorism and crime, numerous instances have
revealed its use in surveillance of political dissidents, journalists, and human
rights activists.

The exploitation of such powerful surveillance tools
underscores the urgent need for effective detection and mitigation strategies.
With instances of spyware abuse spanning global regions and targeting a diverse
range of individuals, the threat to privacy, governance, and human rights is


Mitigating the Threat

Kaspersky’s method introduces a significant advantage in the
fight against spyware: the ease of detection. By simply rebooting their iOS
devices frequently, users can aid in the logging of potential spyware processes
in the Shutdown.log. This method, while not fool proof, provides a valuable
layer of defence against spyware infections.

To further streamline this process, Kaspersky has developed
Python3 scripts to automate the extraction, analysis, and parsing of the
Shutdown.log file. This automation makes it even more feasible for users to
regularly check for signs of spyware, integrating this practice into their
digital hygiene routines.

Summary - A Call For Vigilance

Kaspersky’s findings and the subsequent development of a
detection method mark a significant step forward in safeguarding digital
privacy. However, the battle against spyware is far from over. With the
continuous evolution of surveillance technologies and tactics, staying ahead of
threats requires constant vigilance and innovation.

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