Pegasus Spyware: All you need to know about it. - Seeker's Thoughts

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Pegasus Spyware: All you need to know about it.

In Simple words-
Pegasus spyware is a software to spy on people.
“A spyware is any malicious software designed to enter your computer device, gather your data, and forward it to a third-party without your consent.”

Therefore, Pegasus can spy on users without letting you know. It does not matter if you are using iPhone or android. It is still capable of spying.

Who created Pegasus?
Pegasus has been developed by NSO Group from Israel and is perhaps the most powerful spyware ever created. 
It is designed to infiltrate smartphones — Android and iOS — and also, turn them into surveillance devices.

Is Pegasus expensive ? Why is it created?
NSO Group sells the software to governments only. A single license, which can be used to infect several smartphones, can cost up to Rs 70 lakh. According to a 2016 price list, NSO Group charged its customers $650,000 to infiltrate 10 devices, plus an installation fee of $500,000.
It was created to spy over terrorist, and criminals not for common man.

Spear Fishing and Pegasus Connection? 
Pegasus spyware, how does it reach to phone of an individual?
During 2016, Pegasus spyware infected smartphones through message. A text message or email having the containing the malicious link was sent to the user.

What Pegasus Does?

Pegasus allows extraction of complete data- including historical.

In Simple words, initial extraction sends SMS records, contacts, call history, messages, browsing history to the command-and-control server.

From an infected device, it also makes available a whole set of active collection features that allow an attacker to take real-time actions on the target and retrieve unique information from the device and the surrounding area in its location.

Example of active extractions include:

  • GPS-based location tracking: If GPS is disabled by a target, Pegasus enables it for sampling and immediately turns it off. If no GPS signal is accessible, Cell-ID is retrieve.
  • Environmental sound recording: Pegasus ascertains if the phone is in idle mode before turning on the microphone through an incoming silent call. Any action by the target that turns on the phone screen results in immediate call hang-up and terminates recording.
  • Photo taking: Both front and rear cameras can be used after Pegasus ascertains that the phone is in idle mode. The quality of the photo can be per-determined by an attacker to reduce data use and ensure faster transmission. NSO cautions that since the flash is never used and the phone might be in motion or in a low-lit room, photos can at times be out of focus.
  • Rules and alerts: A number of conditions can be pre-set for real-time action, such as geo-fencing alerts (target enters or exits a defined location), meeting alerts (when two devices share the same location), connection alert (a call or message sent or received to/from a specific number), and content alert (a specific word used in a message), etc.

Use of Pegasus

On August 23, 2020, according to intelligence obtained by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, NSO Group sold Pegasus spyware software for hundreds of millions of US dollars to the United Arab Emirates and the other Gulf States, for surveillance of anti-regime activists, journalists, and political leaders from rival nations, with encouragement and mediation by the Israeli government.

 Later, in December 2020, the Al Jazeera investigative show The Tip of the Iceberg, Spy partners, exclusively covered Pegasus and its penetration into the phones of media professionals and activists; and its use by Israel to eavesdrop on both opponents and allies.

NSO Group’s spyware has been used to facilitate human rights violations around the world on a massive scale, according to a major investigation into the leak of 50,000 phone numbers of potential surveillance targets.

These include heads of state, activists and journalists, including Jamal Khashoggi’s family. 

The Pegasus Project is a ground-breaking collaboration by more than 80 journalists from 17 media organizations in 10 countries coordinated by Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based media non-profit, with the technical support of Amnesty International, who conducted cutting- edge forensic tests on mobile phones to identify traces of the spyware.




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