Pegasus, the spyware
- 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.