Everyone wants to know about Pegasus. What is Pegasus? The highly advanced ‘Pegasus’ is a spyware – a malicious software created by Israel-based cyber intelligence firm NSO Group, designed to hack computers and smartphones to collect data and serve it to third parties. The reason it is malicious is that it collects data without the consent of the individual. However, the NSO Group claimed that their aim was to “develop best-in-class technology to assist government agencies in detecting and preventing terrorism and crime”.
Pegasus spyware first surfaced in 2016, when an Arab worker found a suspicious message on his iPhone. Subsequently, Apple released a software update to address the flaws used by Pegasus to hack the phone. A year later, similar leaks were found in Android phones as well.
In 2019, Facebook filed a case against NSO for making Pegasus, which had infected the devices of several prominent personalities. WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, had said that Indian journalists and human rights activists were among those spying globally using Pegasus spyware.
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How to work Pegasus, to hack a Mobile?
Regarded as one of the “most sophisticated” hacking tools, Pegasus is so intuitive that a phone user may have no clue that their device was compromised. Hackers using Pegasus use software loopholes and security bugs to install malware on users’ phones – primarily iPhone and Android devices.
Spyware is so secretive that it gets installed with just a missed call. Once infiltrated, it also removes the call log entry, so that no trace is left on the gadget. In addition to data theft, Pegasus can also clear all information from the host device including caller logs, calendar events, etc – ensuring that particular data is snatched from the target person without their notice.
Who should be worried about Pegasus?
Pegasus is the surveillance tool and spyware to use if a government wants to spy on someone. Even encrypted chats of WhatsApp are accessible to Pegasus. That being said, a normal phone user need not worry about the classic Pegasus. As far as we know, even the latest reports talk about past exploits and not the present. As a result, if you’re using the latest software version — iOS 14 or Android 11 — and the latest versions of apps like Facebook and WhatsApp, you should steer clear.
However, your phone is still not hack-proof. The NSO group that runs Pegasus still exists, which means that there is a high chance a newer version of Pegasus spyware also exists. No one will even know whether their phone is getting hacked or not. But it should also be noted that the Pegasus spyware tool is extremely expensive and according to the NSO group that runs Pegasus, it is only sold to government agencies for ‘surveillance’. So, unless a powerful organization like the government has reason to keep you under the radar, you’re safe with tools like Pegasus.