Pegasus iPhone exploit

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Specifically – CVE-2016-4655

In: Technology
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Pegasus is a spyware (a kind of malware) for iOS and Android mobile phones that, once installed by clicking on a malicious link, allows the attacker to spy on pretty much whatever you do on that phone, from accessing the camera to reading text messages to collecting passwords and more.

CVE-2016-4655 is one of the main vulnerability (flaw) that was exploited to run this malware on your phone. Basically, it’s a flaw in the way kernel (i.e. core operating system components) memory is handled.

Going into more details the whole attack worked like this:

– you click on a malicious link, so your browser opens

– a vulnerability in the browser allows to execute some code that was embedded in the malicious link (CVE-2016-4657)

– this code triggers something that allows the attacker to get some information related to the kernel memory, namely a specific memory address used by the kernel (this was specifically CVE-2016-4655)

– through some hoops, you can get arbitrary data into the memory that is used by the kernel, which the operating system is going to run, which will provide the attacker unrestricted access to the whole operating system (CVE 2016-4656)