Daily News Analysis

Pegasus, the spyware

19th July, 2021 Security and Defence


  • In May 2019, WhatsApp identified that a bug in the app’s call function was used to install a malicious code into users’ phones.
  • On October 29, it identified the malicious code as Pegasus, a spyware developed by an Israeli company, NSO.
  • WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook have sued NSO in a U.S. court.
    • The NSO Group is a Tel Aviv-based cyber-security company that specialises in “surveillance technology” and claims to help governments and law enforcement agencies across the world fight crime and terrorism.


How does Pegasus come into your phone?

  • The code is transmitted by calling the target phone on WhatsApp.
  • The code enters the phone even if the call is not answered.


What does Pegasus do?

  • Once installed, Pegasus can send the target’s contacts, calendar events, phone calls on and messages on communication apps like WhatsApp and Telegram to the spyware’s controller.
  • It could steal messages from even services that offer encryption because it was taking the messages before the encryption process.
  • The controller can also turn the phone into a spying device by switching on its camera or microphone.


Who was targeted?

According to reports, over 100 human-rights activists, lawyers, and journalists were targeted across the globe. This included several lawyers and journalists in India.