What is Pegasus?
In 2016, a private Israeli surveillance company NSO group created one of the most intelligent spyware tools that could be licensed to governments around the world.
Pegasus, the hacking software, is capable of infecting billions of phones running on either iOS or Android operating systems. The phones, then transformed into mass surveillance devices, give someone sitting thousands of miles away access to the user’s photos, text messages, even turn on their cameras and microphones to record things in real-time.
Pegasus infiltrates a phone and attacks vectors.It can be installed on a phone through vulnerabilities in common apps, or by tricking a target into clicking a malicious link
Once installed, Pegasus can theoretically harvest any data from the device and transmit it back to the attacker.
Pegasus uses “zero-click” attacks, which do not require users to even interact with their phones. The software exploits vulnerabilities – flaws or bugs in an operating system that the mobile phone’s manufacturer does not know about yet or has not been able to fix.
In 2019, WhatsApp revealed Pegasus had infected 1,400 phones simply by placing a call to the target device, installing the code even if the target never answered the call.
Reasons Why The Pegasus Project Should Worry You
An Israeli spyware Pegasus was used to snoop into the mobile phones of thousands of people across the world. It is extremely expensive and according to NSO, it is sold only to government agencies for ‘targeted surveillance’.
Right to privacy under a threat:
The use of a cyber weapon to spy on people and extract information from their phones violates an individual’s fundamental right to privacy. The right to privacy is the right to be left alone, and any surveillance violates this fundamental right guaranteed to citizens by the constitution of India.
Everything can be accessed and monitored:
Once installed, Pegasus can extract any and all communications. It can screenshot your screen, access your camera and microphone, read your private data such as passwords, contact lists, calendar events, text messages, and even encrypted WhatsApp messages.
It can also listen to your voice calls.
What happens to your data?
A few questions about the safety of our data that cannot be ignored are:
What happens to the data after it is used? Where is it stored and who exactly in the government has access to it? Can anyone outside government agencies access it? Can it be used against you or as evidence in the courts?
Pegasus can be installed on your phone with even just a phone call and you will never know it.
In 2019, WhatsApp confirmed that some of its users were targeted with spyware.
This is not the first time it happened, and unfortunately, it is probably not the last.