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Protecting your Mobile Devices (For High Value Targets)

Contrary to the popular belief, doing a factory reset on your phone does not guarantee removal of sophisticated spyware. As per analysis by Citizen Lab, Pegasus spyware can persist a factory reset on certain android phones, however complete information about it’s true capability is still unknown.

If you are a high profile target, always assume that your mobile devices are likely to be targeted. In that case, it’s best to minimize the attack surface, while the following steps can’t ensure security against sophisticated cyber weapons, however they will surely help reduce the attack surface.

i) Do not link any cloud accounts to your mobile device.

ii) Change your password on regular basis, use a different password for each service and if you use a password manager, only use store “Password Hints” instead of actual passwords.

iii) Periodically log out of your email accounts.

iv) Do not store whatsapp, telegram and other OTT services chat backups on cloud.

v) Store bare minimum data on your mobile device, and all secrets should be kept encrypted and stored offline.

vi) Use Two factor authentication on all of your email accounts, the phone number linked with these accounts should not be linked to your identity and should not known. A better approach is to use hardware authentication device such as Yubikey or FIDO U2F Security Key.

vii) Replace your mobile device once in a while and do not buy refurbished phones.

viii) Do not click on any links at all, always move links to a sandboxed environment and then view then. However this advice is not practical as links are meant to be clicked, however following this religiously will prevent you from “One Click” exploits.

If you have any other suggestions, feel free to comment.

Via: Rafay Baloch

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