On Sunday, July 18, it was reported that some documents acquired by international media collaboration presented a list of numbers that were targeted for surveillance through Pegasus Software by an unidentified agency. The spyware came into public attention back in 2019 when some journalists were notified about the presence of it through whatsapp. It is therefore quite important for you to understand what it is and how it can hack your phone.
Pegasus software was developed by an Israeli firm called, The NSO Group and is a highly sophisticated surveillance software. This can be perhaps the most powerful piece of spyware. It can enter your phone without you even noticing it and can develop into a 24 hour surveillance device. It can copy your messages, record your calls or even film you through the camera. It can record your every minute details like, where you are or who you’ve met.
This hacking software, developed by Israeli company, is marketed to governments around the world. It has the capacity to affect around billion phones running on iOS or Android system. There are several methods which are employed to compromise a gadget through the software. This can be by making the target click on a URL sent to their phone. It can even enter your phone through a missed call, which gets deleted afterwards, making you unaware of the fact.
Once the software enters your phone, it gains access to each and every information in it, even your encrypted files or chats. Researchers have called Pegasus software as modular malware. According to the findings, once the software enters the Target’s phone, it installs different modules, which can then listen to calls, read messages, exfiltrate browser history etc.
Recently, NSO has been trying to exploit vulnerabilities in Apple’s iMessage, giving it access to several iPhones. It becomes easy for NSO to exploit such software that are either widely used like Whatsapp or that are present by default like iMessage; as it increases the number of phones that the spyware can attack.
NSO has been trying hard to make its software as difficult to detect as possible. It is therefore possible that once your phone has been powered down, all the software traces vanish away. The most significant challenge that the journalists and human rights defenders face is that the software attacks undiscovered vulnerabilities i.e. the attack cannot be prevented by even the most conscious user.