What is the work of Pegasus and What is its origin ?
Pegasus owned by a NSO group- a private foundation, which many leading countries believe that it is the most powerful spyware ever created, it was coded to infiltrate into the smartphones of target users, be it IOS or Android, and it converts personal devices into surveillance devices. It is the main product of NSO group which was founded by Niv Carmi, Shalev Hulio and Omri Lavie. It is a Herzliya based company located near Tel Aviv, Israel which was founded in 2010, it is a subsidiary of Q Cyber Technologies group of companies.
What is the actual meaning of a Spyware?
Let’s get this straight, in simple words, a spyware is the term given to a category of software which aims to steal personal or organisational data/information without the consent of host. Once a spyware is successfully installed, it starts sending the data from that computer/mobile in the background to a third-party which is controlling this spyware. This third-party can be any government or The NSO group itself.
Pegasus can bypass your phone’s security and install malware that grants complete access to your device. It can access every message you’ve ever sent and received, every photo, video and email, can turn on your microphone, even when you’re not using a phone call, just record what you’re doing in the room. It can turn on your camera, and is also able to record what’s on your screen, can access your GPS, it can monitor your location. And it is able do all of this without you ever knowing.
So if you think that you are using online chatting apps like WhatsApp owned by Facebook or Signal owned by Moxie Marlinspike and Brian Acton which are famous for end-to-end encryption but this gets meaningless once Pegasus is on your phone. It is virtually undetectable which makes it even more lethal.
History of Pegasus software :
- To begin with the brief history of Pegasus, in 2016 the Canadian Cybersecurity Organisation The Citizen Lab encountered it’s first case on the smartphone of Human Right activist Ahmed Mansoor.
- In addition, in September 2018 The Citizen Lab published a report identifying 45 countries in which Pegasus was being used.
- Furthermore, in the year 2019 WhatsApp exposed that journalists and Human Rights Activists in India were under surveillance by operators using Pegasus.
- The latest case of this spyware is found India in July 2021, The Pegasus Project revealed that various governments used the software to spy on government officials, opposition politicians and many more eminent faces. Some records state that Indian government used the software to spy on around 300 people between 2019 and 2021.
Is spying legal in India?
The laws governing surveillance in India are The Telegraph Act, 1885 which indicates about the interception of calls and The Information Technology Act, 2000, it deals with the interception of data. Under both the laws, only government, under certain circumstances, is allowed to conduct surveillance. Moreover, hacking in India is illegal under IT Act.
Is there any solution to save us from this cyber attack havoc ?
Many Cybersecurity experts state that a phone infiltrated by Pegasus might not be able to recover completely, some traces can be found even after a strong factory reset.
Although they have introduced some preventive measures to save oneself from getting hitched with this software.
Open links only from trusted websites, contacts and sources while using your device.
Please make sure that your device is fully upgraded with the latest patches and system/app updates.
Keep your device safe by limiting physical access. This can be done by applying pin, password, biometric locking and face-locking facility.
Also avoid using open Wi-fi or hotspot as the host may steal your data from the network connection. Try using VPN to prevent this condition while using Wi-fi or hotspots it is a safer option to prevent your information.
Do have a backup of your credentials and important documents, if in case your device is lost, stolen or broken you will never lack from your data.