An investigation that took rounds on social media and global news platforms! An investigation revealed the names of many political leaders targeted by spyware. It’s the Pegasus project! In the recent limelight, the Pegasus project highlighted more than 50,000 phone numbers that were recently targeted by an Israel software company, NSO Group. Pegasus then faced many inquiries and questions including What is this project about? Does it infect your devices, and what was this project really targeting?
What is the Pegasus Project?
Pegasus is known to be one of the most powerful spyware that was created by NSO Group. It turns users’ smartphones into surveillance devices, gathers the data from your phone, and allegedly forwards the same to third-party assistance, WITHOUT A CONSENT.
However, NSO Group claimed that this spyware was being marketed as a tool to track criminal data and terrorists and NOT MASS SURVEILLANCE. The company only sells this software to authorised government bodies. According to the price list revealed in 2016, the Israeli company was selling this software for USD650,000 to infiltrate 10 devices along with an additional USD500,000 installation charge.
History of the Pegasus
2016: The first time Pegasus was encountered on a human rights activist’s smartphone. His name was Ahmed Mansoor. The discovery was made by the researchers at the Canadian cybersecurity organisation ‘The Citizen Lab’.
2018: the Citizen lab, later in 2018, published a report identifying that Pegasus was being used in more than 40 countries, including GCC and the Middle East.
2019: WhatsApp revealed that many human rights activists and journalists in the Middle East and India were targeted by surveillance using Pegasus.
July 2021: It was recently discovered that the Pegasus project is being used by many government authorities to spy on their opposition leaders, journalists, government officials, activists, and many other leaders.
What Happens To Your Data?
Once Pegasus is installed in your phone, the software can access the data that exists in the phone, which includes email application, browsing history, files, location, photos, text messages, video cameras, and other messaging applications like skype, messenger, and more.
The software also has an access to the phone’s microphone that will enable the platform to listen to surrounding sounds as well as your phone calls.
Once the data is fetched, it starts removing the data on a first in first out basis if it is already not transmitted to its server.
How to avoid Pegasus attack?
There is not a single defined manner to avoid these pegasus attacks other than regular practice. Regulators advise the users to check their downloaded files time and again and look for any suspicious file or unknown link. That is known to be the best way to fight this malware. While more information and updates are awaited on Pegasus spyware, users around the globe are warned about such malware practices. For the latest updates and news around the world related to such malware, keep reading news on AlShorts.