The Pegasus software is creating its hype in the latest news, and the reason behind the same is the concerns of national security. Pegasus Software is a Spyware that the Israeli software company created to deal with the global scale of terrorism and criminals. It is a malicious program that has been involved in hacking and spying into the smartphones of the country’s powerful position holders or activists. Pegasus itself denotes “Trojan Horse,” a sort of hacking that comes directly to smartphones and compromises personal information and stored data.
After affecting various countries like the USA, Mexico, Israel, etc., the spyware is also establishing its roots in India. There had been several case reports of Pegasus intercepting the WhatsApp communications of the high officials like journalists, opposition leaders, ministers, businessmen, etc. The Pegasus spyware attacks the handheld devices in such a way that the owner won’t even know that all his conversations are being accessed and call recordings are being listened to.
How Much Damage Can A Pegasus Spyware Cause?
The Pegasus Spyware is an advanced Trojan horse that can cause pretty heavy damage to your smartphone data and information. It can access the device’s text messages, phone calls, emails, and a lot of sensitive data and information due to the Spyware virus. This can cause a huge security breach if the information falls into the wrong hands. The mobile device’s camera and microphone can also be compromised, and the attackers can have complete access. The passwords, bank account information breaches can lead you to hot water.
The Pegasus software can bypass the antivirus security as well. So, your highest level of security in the smartphone-like antivirus or forensic analysis can’t even detect or stop the Pegasus software. One can make the Pegasus software in-effective on the smartphone if the attacker itself disables the same. But that’s not much likely to happen. This attack is also a threat to the government and national security. The classified intelligence information can be traced, and terrorist attacks and criminal activities will happen more often.
Can Your Device Be Protected With Pegasus Software?
Yes, there are ways to counter this Trojan horse. But, this doesn’t mean that it should be treated like any other normal spyware. There are specific measures and strategies involved to secure your devices. So, if the right action steps are taken into consideration, smartphones can be kept safe and secure to some extent from this malware. Here are some of the common measures:
- Pegasus spyware can only attack if the smartphone is compatible with some specific technologies.
- In iPhones, the iOS 7 and iOS 14.6 are said to be the most vulnerable.
- Pegasus attacks third-party mobile browsers, so Google Chrome is advised.
- A specific toolkit (MVT) is available to identify & catch the Pegasus Spyware.
- iPhones are majorly impacted by Pegasus attacks, while Android smartphones are more secure.
How Does It Work?
Pegasus is contemplated to be the most advanced spyware on the market. It can infiltrate victims’ devices without ever clicking on malicious links – a so-called “zero-click attack.” It leads to obscure liabilities at triumph, or bugs, in Android and iOS. It means that a phone may be infected, even if it has the latest security patch installed or where a person is targeted, may not even be aware that their phone has been compromised.
When a hacker identifies a phone which needs to be hacked, they send a malicious website link to the target user, and if the user clicks on it, Pegasus is installed on the phone. It also installs through a security bug in voice calls made through apps like WhatsApp. This call method is so powerful and secret that Pegasus can be installed on the phone only by giving a missed call to the user. Once the software is installed, it will remove the call log entry so that the user does not know about the missed call.
Security researchers have found that Pegasus can read messages, track calls, track user activity within apps, collect location data, access video cameras in phones, or hear through its microphone.
Also Read: How Does Pegasus Software Work?
What Is The Current Status Of Pegasus?
As far as the classic Pegasus is concerned, it is no longer that useful. The rumble around it nowadays is because of its past exploits and not because of the present. When information about it became public, Apple patched iOS 9 to fix the flaws that spyware was used to hack into an iPhone. When details of Pegasus targeting WhatsApp and Android became public, Google and WhatsApp patched the security holes that Pegasus was detonated.
How Does The Spyware Infiltrate Your Device?
There was no rocket science behind it, it was quite simple, but now it has become complicated and more perilous. The Pegasus software is used to warm the devices of targets with the assistance of a link. A message would be delivered that provides a link to a website, and if clicked, the link would deliver software that bugs the device. There were ways to prevent your device from getting bugged.
Hacking into devices with human interaction was the beginning, but it has now evolved into zero-click attacks which do not require any action from the phone’s users. ‘Zero-click’ attack from the spyware could be its Horcrux, almost impossible but imperative to defeat.
Pegasus can gain control over a device without human interaction, meaning that even the most advanced and conscious users can be a pawn of chess to spyware tools. It will exploit the flaw in your device, which all the devices have that are not patched yet and can be invaluable resources for cybercriminals.
In 2019, a device was triggered for spying by a missed call on WhatsApp, exploiting the flaw, and loading the spyware while connected to the targeted device through a missed call. Once loaded, the spyware would automatically take over the device and extract the data of your device.
Zero-click attacks are highly sophisticated as they do not require any human error or interaction. It works its way in, and you cannot prevent it. The Dark Magic may leave their traces behind, but the zero-click attacks do not.
What Could Be Done To Prevent These Attacks?
There is not a lot you can do to prevent your device from such attacks, or maybe there is nothing you can do. There was once when the hackers needed human interactions to bug into devices, and the targeted people could have avoided clicking the malicious URLs from unknown numbers to defend their devices.
No more can we identify if we have a bug lurking in our devices. Pegasus was a mythical winged creature, a divine horse in Greek Mythology. The name of the software so marred the deeds.
You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.
As there has been a tremendous increase in technology, we have come across various applications easily installed on our mobile phones. But that doesn’t mean that the particular application you are using is entirely safe—for example, music, game, photo editor, or any other app. You may have seen certain links or advertisements that appear on the screen while using the app.
You don’t know exactly what it is and how it is monitored. So even by just one – click, the software can get access to your personal information.
Therefore, it is very important to go through and understand these things before clicking on anything. It can easily collect all your photos, contact numbers, messages, and many other things. But it has a drawback too. It can’t use the information from certain apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Instagram due to such applications’ high – security maintenance.
Use of Pegasus software
The software can be used against anyone, including you too. The reports have been mostly used to accumulate information about the criminals, terrorist groups, or the terrorist using the software to collect important information about a place or a country to strike an attack. It’s also used by the government against the enemies of a nation to collectively use the information and keep a report of the happenings. So stay alert and use your mobile phone wisely.
Status In India
In India, around 2019, the software targeted the politicians, journalists, officers and revealed their data, hindering their privacy. Facebook alleged against the NSO group that it hacked the database of Indian figures. An analysis was completed, which observed that the software hacked around 10 mobile phones. It was also reported that the Indian government used the software to check on the Pakistan government and look after its activities or to foresee the danger and protect themselves.
Spyware apps like Pegasus are highly expensive. The cost is in the millions of dollars, which large organizations or governments can only pay. NSO Group has already said that it sells its software only to governments. Tools like Pegasus are used for targeted surveillance instead of a reconnaissance tool. So, unless you believe that a government or powerful organization has reasons to keep you under surveillance, you shouldn’t worry about a tool like Pegasus.