Highlight of Pegasus Spyware:
Pegasus is in the news. It is a spyware developed by an Israeli company, and the way it works makes it almost impossible for a victim to know that they have been hacked.
- Pegasus is a spyware developed by the Israeli firm NSO.
- Governments reportedly use this spyware across the world to spy on some people.
- Pegasus can be used to hack into smartphones and scoop details of WhatsApp chats.
Pegasus is spyware developed by the Israeli cyberarms firm NSO (National Science Olympaid)Group that can be covertly installed on mobile phones (and other devices) running some versions of iOS and Android.NSO states that it provides “authorized governments with technology that helps them combat terror and crime”, has published sections of contracts requiring customers only to use its products for criminal and national security investigations.The spyware is named after the mythical winged horse Pegasus—it is a Trojan horse that can be sent “flying through the air” to infect phones.
Last we heard of it in India was in 2019 when some WhatsApp users — including journalists and activists — received messages from WhatsApp telling them that Pegasus compromised their phones.Pegasus spyware was reportedly used to spy on Indians, a new report says. In 2019, WhatsApp brought the matter to light when it sued Israeli spyware maker NSO Group for its Pegasus spyware that was allegedly used to snoop on journalists, activists, lawyers and senior government officials in 20 countries around the world, including India, in May 2019. WhatsApp revealed that it has contacted several Indian users who are believed to be the targets of illegal snooping using the Pegasus spyware.
How Does Pegasus effect on device
According to The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, which helped WhatsApp with the investigation into the cyber-attack, Pegasus is the flagship spyware of Israel-based NSO Group. It is believed to be known by other names as well, like Q Suite and Trident. Pegasus reportedly has the ability to infiltrate both Android and iOS devices and it uses a number of ways to hack into a target’s mobile devices, including using zero-day exploits.
In the case of WhatsApp, Pegasus has said to have used a vulnerability in WhatsApp VoIP stack that is used to place video and audio calls. Just a missed call on WhatsApp allowed Pegasus to gain access to the target’s device.
The Citizen Lab notes that Pegasus has used other ways in the past to infiltrate a target’s device, like getting the target to click on a link using social engineering or using fake package notifications to deploy the spyware. Pegasus has been around since 2016 and it was also believed to have been used to target Indians earlier as well.
Who was hacked using Pegasus in India?
The specifics of exactly how many people were hacked in India using Pegasus through WhatsApp is unclear. However, a WhatsApp spokesperson confirmed to Gadgets 360 that Indian users were among those contacted by the company over the May 2019 cyber-attack.
Facebook-owned WhatsApp has also not said anything about who was behind the cyber-attack and illegal snooping. NSO Group has also denied any wrongdoing and the company claims it only sells the spyware to “vetted and legitimate government agencies.”