Several journalists and activists were notified that their phones were compromised by Pegasus software in 2019, after receiving WhatsApp notification. An ongoing controversy is centred on the highly sophisticated surveillance software. A media collaboration reportedly uncovered documents that showed a list of phone numbers that were allegedly targeted by an unidentified agency using Pegasus software on Sunday, July 18. A few public figures, including politicians and activists, have been targeted along with over 40 journalists.
In spite of the fact that this is a developing story, it is crucial to fully comprehend the software and understand how it can hack into your smartphone to completely compromise your information.
What is Pegasus software??
A highly advanced surveillance software developed by the Israeli NSO Group, well known for its specialization in creating cyber weapons, Pegasus is a highly sophisticated surveillance software.
A human rights activist’s iPhone was hacked with Pegasus in 2016, which first gained public attention. Following the alleged incident, Apple updated its iOS operating system, which patched the vulnerability being exploited to hack into Apple’s phones.
Next, researchers discovered in 2017 that the software could also be exploited through Android phones. New security updates were issued as a result of the finding. In 2019, Pegasus was sued by Facebook for creating spyware, which was created by NSO Group.
Intruders of phones can use Pegasus as a very sophisticated hacking software. Pegasus software is the subject of claims from the NSO Group that they are not responsible for the misuse. Group members claim that their tool is only available to vetted governments, not individuals or any other entities.
How does Pegasus hack a phone?
Pegasus’ main selling points are its seamless intrusion technology and the fact that a targeted individual may not even know their phone has been compromised.
By using the Pegasus software, there have been some reported ways to hack into phones. This attack is possible by sending a malicious URL to the target’s phone and making them click on it. A security bug in WhatsApp and similar applications can also be used to install the software. The victim of the hacking will remain unaware since a single missed call is enough to install the information gathering software on the targeted phone.
Pegasus may possibly access all information on the phone, including encrypted chats and files after it is installed. Pegasus, according to cybersecurity experts, has access to the infected device’s messages, calls, app activity, user location, video camera, and microphone. Researchers from Kaspersky, a well-known cybersecurity firm, used the term “total surveillance” to describe the Pegasus software’s capabilities.
Pegasus software, according to the researchers, is modular malware. Pegasus examines a target’s phone and then installs different modules as needed, according to their results.
- Read user messages and mail
- Listen to calls
- Capture screenshots
- Log pressed keys
- Exfiltration browser history and contacts