In the latest revelation, unnamed entities used Pegasus to spy on Indian journalists and human rights activists. The news was confirmed by WhatsApp on Thursday. WhatsApp, however, did not divulge identities or the exact number of those targeted in India. Meanwhile, officials with the government of India said they will take strict action against any intermediary responsible for breach of privacy of citizens. The official said the central government is committed to protecting the fundamental rights of citizens, including the right to privacy.
"It is clarified that the government of India operates strictly as per provisions of law and laid down protocols. There are adequate safeguards to ensure that no innocent citizen is harassed or his privacy breached," the official said.
What is Pegasus spyware?
Pegasus spyware was developed by Israeli cyber arms firm NSO Group. The spyware can be installed on devices that run certain versions of iOS. The Pegasus spyware was initially discovered in August 2016 after an attempt at installing it on an iPhone failed. The iPhone belonged to a human rights activist.
After thorough investigations, details about the Pegasus spyware - its security vulnerabilities and abilities were revealed.
What can Pegasus spyware do?
The Pegasus spyware is capable of reading text messages, tracking calls, collecting passwords, tracing the location of the phone, accessing the target device's microphone(s) and video camera(s). The Pegasus spyware is also capable of gathering information from apps.
In the past, Pegasus spyware has gathered much attention on social media as it was called the "most sophisticated" smartphone attack ever.
The company that created the spyware, NSO Group, stated that they provide "authorized governments with technology that helps them combat terror and crime".
How does the Pegasus spyware work?
The Pegasus spyware can be installed on devices running certain versions of iOS. Upon clicking on a malicious link, Pegasus secretly enables a jailbreak on the device and can read text messages, track calls, collect passwords, trace the phone location, as well as gather information from apps including (but not limited to) iMessage, Gmail, Viber, Facebook, WhatsApp,Telegram, and Skype.