The Pegasus Software has been the talk of the town of late and deservedly so. In a world where we have become so conscious of our privacy and security, it does shock us how the latest technologies keep getting more fatal and how conscious we have to be to safeguard our lives.
The Pegasus Software falls in the category of spyware, which means that it can harm your privacy, in simple words. However, Pegasus isn’t just any other spyware as it is considered to be one of the most advanced, if not the most advanced, spyware yet. Pegasus capabilities include reading your text conversations, keeping track of your calls, knowing your location, and recording your audio or video.
Also Watch this video: What Is Pegasus Spyware? Phone Hacking? Explained In Detail
The earlier version of Pegasus, like other spyware, required the smartphone user to click on a malicious link that was sent to the target smartphone through a text message or an e-mail. However, the later versions of the software didn’t have the limitation mentioned above.
The software was developed by the Israeli technology firm NSO to put an end to “serious crimes and terrorism.” The software can infect both iOS and Android smartphones and can infect your smartphone even if you have the latest security patch on it. The spyware was first discovered in 2016 when popular Emirati human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor received a text message containing a link about the secrets of torture in the United Arab Emirates.
However, instead of following the link, he sent the link to the interdisciplinary factory, Citizen Lab. Upon investigation carried out by Citizen Lab in collaboration with the private IT security company, Lookout, it was found that if he had followed the link, it would have implanted the spyware on his phone.
The NSO group only sells the spyware to governments to track terrorists. However, multiple reports suggest otherwise. It’s worth mentioning here that the spyware is highly expensive. It’s believed that the NSO group charged its clients $650,000 to infiltrate 10 devices while also charging an installation fee of $500,000 in 2016. In September of 2018, Citizen Lab published a report in which it named 45 countries in which Pegasus was being used. The United Arab Emirates, India, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Mexico, and Morocco are among those 45 countries.
In 2019, Pegasus started getting immense media attention in India when Whatsapp’s parent company, Facebook, initiated a suit against NSO, claiming that Pegasus had been used to look into the Whatsapp conversations of several Indian activists, journalists, and bureaucrats. The following year, in 2020, a list of more than 50000 phone numbers was leaked to the popular non-profit organization Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories.
This list was then passed on to 17 media organizations including, The Guardian in the United Kingdom, The Washington Post and Frontline in the United States, Knack and Le Soir in Belgium, and The Wire in India. This international investigative journalism initiative was called The Pegasus Project.