The world of technology has evolved. While it has several benefits, drawbacks cannot be ignored either. The recent Pegasus malware attack has caught the attention of experts and people worldwide. Pegasus malware is a spyware that can easily hack Android and iOS devices stealing data from the infected gadget or device, including key logs, text messages, emails and information from installed apps like Instagram and Facebook. Moreover, this spyware can record videos and conversations as well as snap images from the camera of the infected device. It was designed and created by NSO Group, an Israel based cybersecurity company founded in the year 2010. The spyware has been around since the summer of 2016.

Threat hackers can make use of Pegasus for stealthily gathering information from high-value targets including government officials who have access to the international and national secrets and executives with strategic corporate information.

History of Pegasus Spyware:

It was in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) a human rights activist, Ahmed Mansoor, discovered the Pegasus spyware. He is now in jail. On August 10 and 11, 2016, Ahmed Mansoor received SMS text messages on his iPhone device that promised if he clicked on the link sent in the messages, he will get new information about the people tortured in UAE jails. However, he did not click on the link. Instead, he sent the messaged further to researchers at the Citizen Lab. It is an organization based at Toronto University. The organization did some research and produced pieces of evidence on cybersecurity issues related to human rights concerns. The research of the group includes investigation of digital espionage.

The researchers identified that the links sent to them belonged to an exploit infrastructure associated with the NSO Group that sells Pegasus along with other spyware to the government known for violation of human rights to spy on activities and critics. When the information related to the iOS versions of the Pegasus spyware was first released, Apple released an iOS security update that helped in patching three vulnerabilities. Google provided help to the researchers investigating the case with the Android version and warned of the potential Pegasus spyware targets directly. According to Google, a few dozens of Android devices have been infected and attacked.

In the year 2018, an Amnesty International staff member got a suspicious WhatsApp message with a link that upon clicking could have installed Pegasus malware on the mobile device of the employee. Ultimately, WhatsApp fixed the flaw that would have allowed a hacker to infect the device of a victim with the Pegasus spyware.

 

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