Everything You Need to Know About the Pegasus Spyware
Recently, security researchers discovered software installed on the devices of businesspeople, journalists, and activists. This software, referred to as Pegasus, was made by an Israeli cybersecurity company intended to pursue terrorists and criminals.
According to the revelation, 50,000 phone numbers of highly influential individuals like lawyers, judges, and politicians were compromised. This list of compromised individuals also included a king, three presidents, and ten prime ministers, as reported by the Washington Post.
Pegasus is a recent example of how people will need to take digital prying seriously. Since the most personal information is present on phones, Spyware makes it easier to compromise users without actually requiring to bypass encryption protocols for data being transmitted over the internet.
To learn more about Pegasus, its repercussions, and how you can protect yourself, read on.
The NSO Group
NSO Group is the company behind Pegasus, and the company’s main purpose is to license surveillance software to government agencies. According to the NSO Group, Pegasus has an important role to play because it bypasses encryption that terrorists and criminals have benefited from for quite some time. The software works on phones stealthily and provides information regarding what a user is doing.
The Israeli surveillance company provides other tools that provide information like phones, protects against drones, and detects patterns by mining law enforcement data.
It is worth noting this is not the first time the NSO Group has been implicated. A Saudi dissident sued the company in 2018 for having a role in hacking Jamal Khashoggi’s device. Moreover, the company was also reported for playing a part in the Jeff Bezos hack the same year. There are several other instances where lawsuits and previous reports had implicated the NSO Group in other hacks.
More about Pegasus
Pegasus is by far the most popular of all of NSO Group’s offerings. The software can be installed on any device without its owner opening a link or accessing a document. Pegasus provides all information to customers of the NSO Group; this includes data like videos, photos, emails, text messages, and contact lists. Additionally, the software can also discreetly enable a device’s cameras and microphone to create recordings.
While using two-factor authentication and updating your device’s apps and operating system can keep hackers at bay, these steps offer little to no protection against organizations that concentrated all their resources on one specific individual.
According to the NSO Group, Pegasus is only supposed to be used by government and law enforcement agencies to prevent and investigate terrorists and criminals. Unfortunately, it seems as though Pegasus is being used to target unsuspecting victims instead.
Why is Pegasus All over the News Now?
The reason why Pegasus is all over the news now has to do with the fact that Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories shared a list of 50.000 phone numbers with 17 news organizations, believing said numbers to be of great interest to the NSO Group’s customers.
The news sites verified the identities of numerous individuals on the list and whether their devices were infected or not. The numbers included notable individuals like the South African President, Iraqi President, and the French President. The list also included former prime ministers and three current ones.
Scanning Devices for Pegasus Installation
Users who want to verify if their devices are secure from Pegasus can use the MVT (The Amnesty International Mobile Verification Toolkit). The tool can be used on macOS or Linux, and it verifies your devices by analyzing a backup to examine files and configurations. While the MVT may not provide a solid answer, it can detect indicators of compromise, which is more than enough information to determine if there is an infection in the first place.
How to Better Protect your Devices?
Currently, there is no solid solution against Pegasus, but there are some steps that can be taken to minimize the risk; they are as follows:
- Only open links from trusted sources and contacts.
- Ensure your device is up-to-date with relevant upgrades and patches.
- Restrict physical access to your phone.
- Avoid connecting to free and public Wi-Fi networks.
- Enable remote-wipe features and encrypt your data.
Most importantly, whenever you connect to the internet, use a reliable VPN, like Ivacy VPN. By doing so, you will become safe, secure and anonymous online. Once again, while these steps may increase your cybersecurity, they are not a permanent solution against Pegasus.
For more on Pegasus and the NSO Group, stay tuned with Ivacy VPN.