In the messaging app Whatsapp, there is a sensation all over the world about spying through Israeli spyware. An Israeli spyware has been spied on WhatsApp of about 1400 people in 20 countries including India. Everyday new revelations are being made in this matter. Many journalists and social activists have also been spied in India. In this case, the Government of India has sought information from WhatsApp.
The Indian Express on Thursday revealed that some journalists and social activists were spied in India earlier this year through WhatsApp. An Israeli spyware tool Pegasus was used for this. The spyware was developed by an Israeli company NSO.
WhatsApp has sued Israeli company NSO in a San Francisco court on Tuesday. WhatsApp has said that the NSO has spied 1400 mobile phones by attacking malware on US servers. WhatsApp says that around 100 human rights activists, journalists and civil society people around the world have been spied.
NSO is a company providing telecommunication cyber security of Tel Aviv. It has expertise in espionage technology. But the company says that it does espionage to help protect terror from terrorism and law and order agency of various governments to help in controlling crime.
What is spyware pegasus
Spyware spies people through their phones as per their name. Pegasus sends an exploit link to his target’s phone to spy spyware. If the target clicks that link, then the malware or code through which it is spied, is installed in the phone. Many times there is no need to click that link. Once Pegasus is installed on a mobile phone, then its entire phone is captured. All the details of the phone users come to him.
The first information about Pegasus spyware was found in 2016. Pegasus spyware was sent via an SMS link on the iPhone 6 of Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights activist working in the UAE at the time. The Apple company later captured and fixed it.
In September 2018, Citizen Lab of Toronto gave some shocking information about this spyware. It was told that Pegasus spyware is so dangerous that without user’s permission, it gets installed in the phone and through it, spying starts. Citizen Lab had said at that time that spyware was active in about 45 countries worldwide.
In December 2018, Saudi Arabian activist Omar Abdulaziz, based in Montreal, filed a case against the NSO in a Tel Aviv court. Abdul Aziz alleged that the NSO company is spying on him through Pegasus spyware. His conversation with his close friend Jamal Khashogi is being tapped. Jamal Khashogi was the same journalist from Saudi Arabia who was murdered in the Council of Istanbul on 2 October 2018. Abdul Aziz had said that he was being spied on by phone since August.
In May 2019, a report by Financial Times stated that the phone is being spied by sending Pegasus spyware to WhatsApp. WhatsApp asked all the users to update their software immediately to eliminate this problem.
How does Pegasus spyware work after install?
Once the Pegasus spyware is installed in the phone, then it is captured on the entire phone. Pegasus keeps sending private data, passwords, contact lists, calendar events, text messages and live voice calls to its spyware dropout. The camera of the target’s phone and its microphone can be turned on without the wishes of the users. Spyware dropout can see and hear everything around the phone.
WhatsApp has told in a report to the court that Pegasus has access to the phone’s email, SMS, location tracking, network details, device settings and browsing history. Information of all these can be obtained without inking the target.
After installing Pegasus, the phone password is no longer protected. Passwords do not create any interruptions for spyware.
How did Pegasus attack WhatsApp?
To increase the security of WhatsApp, it has a feature of end to end encryption. After this, WhatsApp claimed that it could not be hacked. But in spite of how there was a dent in its security, this is a big question. A Financial Times report has said that only a missed call from WhatsApp is needed to install Pegasus. There is no need to click any link.
WhatsApp has said that Pegasus attacks the video and voice call function of the app. There is also no need to pick up the phone to the target. It installs automatically.
Can any phone be spied through Pegasus?
Any phone can be spied through Pegasus spyware. However, in the current case only a few selected people were targeted. WhatsApp has said that about 1400 users were being spied through this spyware.
It is being told that about two dozen journalists, lawyers and Dalit activists were being spied in India. It is not yet known who was spying these people.