What are a pegasus and its latest indications?
Certainly, the most advanced software in recent times. It is spyware developed by Israeli company ‘NSO group’.
Once it makes its way onto your phone, it can turn into an all-time (24/7) surveillance device for your phone. 37 phones of activists and journalists and other high profile people were suspected of being on surveillance using this software. Evidence of attempted prying and successful installation was found, according to security researchers.
It can record your messages and calls and even gets access to your gallery after it enters.
It can record you and your conversations by activating your camera and microphone respectively. it can even track your locations where you go, along with the person who you have met.This spyware not only hacks the data that your phone contains but also your activities like places where you’ve been, people whom you have met, with the help of your phone that it inhabits now.
Originally, software was developed to track illegal activities through phones and bring them to the light.It is a hacking software developed, authorized and licenced by Israeli company ‘NSO group’ to governments across the globe to track any criminal or illegal activity.It is capable of worming its way down to billions of phones either android or IOS capturing every activity of the owner along with contained data in the phone with every critical detail.A previous version of pegasus captured by researchers in 2016 needed the user to click on the malicious link. However, ever since these advancements in the software, now it doesn’t need any interaction with the owner to make its entry into your phone. It works with ‘zero click’ interaction.
Previously, Whatsapp came in front with a complaint of pegasus being the exploited software in more than 1400 phones using simply WhatsApp call or malicious link to the target and it makes its way even when the target did not pick up the call or clicked on the link.Though Apple said they are continually updating its software to prevent such backdoor access.
Pegasus gets its way into the phone mainly through the software already installed in the phone or very widely used applications such as Whatsapp for successful attacks.
Recently, NSO came in news regarding its most sophisticated spyware ever as it has been suspected by research specialists of the misuse by its customers.
Though NSO group, the Israeli cyber intelligence firm, developer of pegasus declined the claims saying they sell their software only to licensed government clients to prevent any transnational crime and terrorism.It has been reported that this software has been sold to approx 40 countries out of which some countries are being suspected of its misuse over journalists, politicians and high profile civilians.
Spying over the phones, tracking their completed activities, using this software breach the principle of privacy and freedom that made this software so popular and highlighted in these past days.Misuse of the software raised a wave of concern among the government itself. This digital prying shows how vulnerable we are in the age of advanced technology.The latest advancements indicate the booming of the spyware industry shortly.Recent findings suggest this software had been used to watch Andrea Manuel Lopez, president of Mexico and other members in his circle including family, friends, helps, lawyers, doctors.
In India, it has been suspected of being surveillance of Rahul Gandhi ( opposition of Narendra Modi), current prime minister of India.
Revelations suggest that pegasus is being misused and oversight is needed.
In 2016, a Canadian organisation first discovered the use of pegasus on the phone of human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor.
In 2018, the citizen lab published a report that included a list of countries that were using pegasus at that time. In 2019, WhatsApp revealed that journalists, politicians, human rights activists had been the targets of surveillance by operators licensed to use pegasus.
In July 2021, an international investigation set up revealed that governments of various countries were using pegasus to put surveillance over oppositions, journalists, activists and others. It has been said that the Indian govt. had used the software between 2017 to 2019 to spy on over 300 people including their rivals that are opposition parties.
The pegasus controversy made its way to India after it was caught on the phones of a suspected list of people. Over 40 journalists were on the target list of this hacking activity of pegasus conducted by some unknown agency reported by ”The Wire”.
It has been reported that these hacking conductions using the Israeli spyware called pegasus mainly took place between 2018 to 2019. However, NSO Group, an Israeli organisation (which markets and licenced the spyware to only ”vetted government” according to their claims ) completely refused to bring the list of the customers to the public as it will be very unethical of them to do so.
But the The number of Indian targets that may have been on surveillance in addition to the reported list that highlights the most sophisticated people of India strongly suggests the presence of an Indian agency to operate the spyware on Indian numbers.
Meanwhile, the mere presence of numbers on the target list does not ensure the sneaking of the spyware onto your phone. It can only be confirmed after conducting a digital investigation of the device’s data.
Any such spyware running onto phones without taking the owner’s consent is a violation of the ”right to privacy”.To this, the central government stated in their defence. It said ” the allegations have no concrete basis. ”India is a robust democracy that is committed to ensuring the right to privacy to all its citizens as a fundamental right. There has been no unauthorised interception from the side of government agencies. There is no hint of truth or concrete basis in reports showing government surveillance on particular people, it further added. Such reports are mere conjectures to malign the democratic reputation of India, said IT, minister Ashwini Vaishnav.
Though Ashwini Vaishnav is on the target list, he declined all the claims of pegasus infections and pointed out the reports of being a fishing expedition, false and misleading to malign Indian democracy ahead of the monsoon session of parliament.
After the alleged allegations of pegasus snooping, the Israel commission set up a team to review the licencing procedure of the spyware to hold better control over the use of their software.