The internet has become an inevitable part of our lives. It has numerous benefits but at the same time, there are some disadvantages, and attacks by Spywares and malware are one such disadvantage. Pegasus spyware is the dangerous virus/ spyware that we are going to talk about here.
- If you are an internet user, you need to be aware of this dangerous virus/spyware and keep yourself away from it.
- In this post, we will give an idea of What Pegasus spyware is, a brief history about it, how it affects everyone, what are the safety measures that should be followed, the targets of Pegasus spyware, and Pegasus spyware in India.
What is [Pegasus Spyware]?
Do you know what Pegasus is? No, it is not a species of dinosaur. It is malicious spyware that can hack into your phone’s system and wreak havoc in your life. Ensure you stay 1000 miles away from it.
Developed by the private Israeli company, NSO group, it has been marketed to various governments around the globe by the same NSO group. If it finds its way into your phone, it can act as a round-the-clock spying device which can be dangerous for your security. It can have access to your calls, messages, and photos. The most shocking part is it can even film you through the camera on your phone. It spies on you and interferes in your life by accessing your location and knowing your whereabouts.
Brief History about Pegasus Spyware?
The year 2016 saw the first attacks by Pegasus spyware on phones. But how? The answer is, “Through spearfishing”. Now, what is spearfishing? You must have received many text messages or emails with suspicious links from strangers. You might have even clicked on some of them. This is spearfishing and this is how Pegasus spyware invades your phone. Since 2016, NSO has come up with advanced attacks which do not even require the phone user to click on anything. Complications start when even phone manufacturers are not aware of bugs and issues, which are taken advantage of by Pegasus, and therefore, the bugs cannot be fixed. WhatsApp in 2019 shockingly revealed that about 1400 phones were infected by Pegasus. Pegasus Whatsapp attack was done through mere WhatsApp calls that could install malicious codes on phones and hack into their systems. Apple’s iMessage is the platform that is the newest target of Pegasus and in July 2021 Pegasus carried on successful attacks on iPhones running upgraded versions of IOS.
How does it affect everyone?
Once, Pegasus spyware hacks its way into your phone’s system, it can collect data from your phone and hand it over to the attacker. It can have access to your emails, text messages, WhatsApp calls, photos and videos. It can even activate the camera and microphone, record calls, have access to your GPS information, calendar, and contact books. According to Amnesty International, technical partner of the Pegasus project, Pegasus is capable of doing more than what the phone owner is capable of doing. Pegasus spyware has been updated in such a way that it has become extremely difficult to detect. Think again if you think your phone’s security will not allow Pegasus spyware to invade your phone.
What are the safety measures?
Operating platforms and mobile app developers need to fix their bugs and vulnerabilities to keep Pegasus at bay. They should update their systems keeping in mind the attack capabilities of Pegasus.
At an individual level, one should follow the below-mentioned steps: –
1) Open links only if the sender is trusted and not if the sender seems
2) Install updates on your device and upgrade your system to ward off the evil named Pegasus spyware.
3) Conduct your own research on the latest versions of your operating system instead of depending upon your Operating system.
4) Don’t let others access your phone. You can ensure that by enabling locking techniques such as face lock, finger-print lock, and others.
5) Use your personal internet services only to protect yourself from Pegasus attacks.
6) Enable remote-wipe and encrypting features on your phone to ensure safe storage of data even when your device is stolen.
Who is on the hit-list of Pegasus Spyware?
Reports suggest more than 1000 people belonging to 50 countries have been targeted by Pegasus spyware. The vulnerable countries are Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
The following are the targets of Pegasus spyware:-
1) Business Executives – 64 of them have been targeted so far.
2) Journalists – Pegasus spyware has targeted 189 of them.
3) Arab royal family members- They are also on Pegasus’ hit list.
4) Politicians/Government officials – As many as 600+ politicians/government officials have been on the hit list of Pegasus.
5) Human Rights Activists – Even human rights activities have not been spared as 85 of them have been targeted so far.
6) 50,000 leaked phone numbers – What is the most alarming thing is that almost 50,000 phone numbers have been leaked by the notorious spyware, Pegasus.
Pegasus Spyware in India
Cyber-attack in India on journalists and human rights activities is not a new thing, especially the ones through Whatsapp. However, there are pieces of evidence of the use of Pegasus Spyware in India and according to reports, thousands of phones have been infected by this dangerous virus/spyware. The people targeted include leaders of opposition, journalists, and human rights activists though, the Government has not come clean on this issue.
Now that you are aware of this Spyware and the safety measures, follow the same and keep Pegasus spyware at bay.