cross-posted from: https://lemmy.ml/post/74540

Hello! I think it is a nice time to re-mention some 101 tips of IT security for folks here, that I also practice. Pegasus malware investigation will be big news for a good while, so the more awareness it helps spread, the better.

RULE 1

DO NOT CLICK ON RANDOM SMS AND EMAIL LINKS. Please, do not do this, ever. Just do not do it. Do not do it. Do not do it. Do not do it.

Yes, that is how many times I repeated that line. That is how important this rule is.

Also, do not download random email attachments.

Phishing is such a common tactic that one would think this problem has been solved by now, but it has not.

RULE 2

Keep OFF auto download of photos, videos, documents and so on on WhatsApp, Signal and such apps.

Drive by downloads being self executable surprise bombs is not a new thing. Basically, this rule is similar to keeping off AutoPlay for external USB sticks on Windows computers.

RULE 3

Avoid using popular software too much.

I get it, this is a hard rule to workaround considering how much we need to use WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram and so on, so it is a lot better to compartmentalise your activities among multiple messengers.

Pegasus and a lot of specialised malware uses zero-days to be able to design zero click deployment tricks, which is what these government surveillance tools are good at reserving. They use their millions of dollars of funding and R&D properly, so you have to be careful.

As an example, try to keep WhatsApp internet turned off most of the times via NetGuard, and turn it on only when needed, a good method I have earlier suggested as well in my smartphone hardening guide.

CONCLUSION

Those were some thoughts on the top of my head, before I go to sleep. Stay safe against surveillance! And feel free to ask whatever you want to!

  • xenith
    link
    fedilink
    arrow-up
    1
    ·
    3 years ago

    One of the articles about it (I think from The Guardian) said that it can run in RAM which was one thing making it harder to detect. It said that it was present until a reboot.

    • TheAnonymouseJokerOPM
      link
      fedilink
      arrow-up
      1
      arrow-down
      5
      ·
      edit-2
      3 years ago

      It is a common practice that if your phone has been left unattended and is out of your sight and is within reach of suspicious or legal criminal authorities, when you return, restart it. I thought it would be clear to people.

      It would be better to rephrase my statement as nothing persisting in RAM if you turn off its power or the device that has RAM.

      • xenith
        link
        fedilink
        arrow-up
        1
        ·
        3 years ago

        If Pegasus required physical access to your device that would be relevant. However, it’s installed through several other means and according to articles I’ve read can live in RAM. So restarting regularly despite never having an unattended device seems prudent.

        • TheAnonymouseJokerOPM
          link
          fedilink
          arrow-up
          1
          arrow-down
          5
          ·
          3 years ago

          Code cannot persist in RAM and survive power loss. The only way that is possible for RAM to have that code persistently is that the code is stored on disk storage, and the code gets copied over to RAM upon each reboot.

          • xenith
            link
            fedilink
            arrow-up
            1
            ·
            edit-2
            3 years ago

            No one is arguing that RAM is persistent after reboots…

            @yxzi 's original comment suggested regularly restarting your device, which coincincides with the assessment that Pegasus can live in RAM. I see it as nothing but great advice and I can’t figure out why it illicited your responce in a post created by you about “staying safe from Pegasus.”

            edit: a few letters

            • TheAnonymouseJokerOPM
              link
              fedilink
              arrow-up
              1
              arrow-down
              4
              ·
              3 years ago

              Pegasus does not live in RAM. Pegasus is copied from disk storage to RAM each time, so it cannot be persistent by design of RAM. If Pegasus is getting detected into your RAM, there are bigger problems than a mere restart of your device.

              My post is not making me respond because I want to argue needlessly, but because the problem might be more severe. A restart of phone after your phone has been out of sight is a good measure, but if after repeated restarts it is found there, that is what I was pointing out.