Everything you need to know about the Trident iPhone exploit

A new zero-day exploit is doing some pretty nasty things to iPhones

Last night the story broke that a piece of commercially-produced malware had been discovered which would allow someone to remotely take over an iPhone. The malware, dubbed Trident, used three previously undiscovered vulnerabilities in iOS to gain access to the phone and install sophisticated spyware.

What does the iPhone Trident exploit do?

It allows malicious users to remotely jailbreak a phone and install software on it that's hidden from the phone's owner. The malware is triggered by someone visiting a web page - the phone's user doesn't need to agree to download anything. The spyware package allowed its masters to use the phone's camera and microphone to record anything at any time, as well as monitoring chat software such as WhatsApp.

How was the Trident malware discovered?

The malware appears to have been specifically targeted at Ahmed Mansour, a human rights activist in the UAE. Mansour received text messages on his phone which claimed to link to details of human rights abuses. However, he became suspicious of the messages, and passed details on to Citizen Lab, who dissected the malware and linked it to an Israeli company which makes spyware for use by governments.

Who made the Trident malware?

Can the Trident malware affect me?

In theory, yes. In practice, this kind of targeted malware attack is almost always designed to focus on specific users by the government responsible. They also tend to want to keep the malware they use close to their chests because it's a costly piece of software which (ironically) they don't want to get into "the wrong" hands.

It's already been patched

If you're on iOS 9, hit software update and download iOS 9.3.5. This patches the exploits used by the NSO malware, as well as throwing in a few other security fixes into the mix.

Isn't this all pretty shady?

Yes it is. Add together shadowy companies making malware and governments targeting human rights activists for surveillance by hacking and you have something that sounds like it's out of a pacy cyberwar novel. Sadly, it looks like it's not fiction.

Featured Resources

Virtual desktops and apps for dummies

An easy guide to virtual desktop infrastructure, end-user computing, and more

Download now

The total economic impact of optimising and managing your hybrid multi-cloud

Cost savings and business benefits of accelerating the cloud journey

Download now

A buyer’s guide for cloud-based phone solutions

Finding the right phone system for your modern business

Download now

What’s next for the education sector?

A new learning experience

Download now

Recommended

HackBoss malware is using Telegram to steal cryptocurrency from other hackers
cryptocurrencies

HackBoss malware is using Telegram to steal cryptocurrency from other hackers

16 Apr 2021
Hackers use open source Microsoft dev platform to deliver trojans
Security

Hackers use open source Microsoft dev platform to deliver trojans

14 May 2021
2021 state of email security report: Ransomware on the rise
Whitepaper

2021 state of email security report: Ransomware on the rise

10 May 2021
Hackers used SonicWall zero-day flaw to plant ransomware
ransomware

Hackers used SonicWall zero-day flaw to plant ransomware

30 Apr 2021

Most Popular

KPMG offers staff 'four-day fortnight' in hybrid work plans
flexible working

KPMG offers staff 'four-day fortnight' in hybrid work plans

6 May 2021
Hackers use open source Microsoft dev platform to deliver trojans
Security

Hackers use open source Microsoft dev platform to deliver trojans

14 May 2021
How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD
operating systems

How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD

30 Apr 2021