The news that a malware was gathering data on dignitaries shook the entire world a few months ago. Pegasus was the name of the spyware. Many others rejected its existence and questioned its origins. So, in this blog, we’ll discuss what is the pegasus project?
To begin, we must first comprehend Pegasus in detail.
What exactly is Pegasus Project?
Pegasus is a type of spyware. For those unfamiliar with the term, spyware is defined as “software that allows a user to gain covert information about another’s computer operations by sending data covertly from their hard drive.”
NSO Group, an Israeli business, created Pegasus. The major goal was to make Android and iOS phones and tablets into information hubs.The data collected by these devices was supposed to be sent directly to the corporation. Pegasus is widely regarded as one of the most powerful spyware programmes available.
The corporation NSO, on the other hand, maintains that the programme was created solely to follow criminals and suspects. The software is also only sold to governmental organisations, according to the claims.A licence that allows you to infect up to ten devices costs around 70 lakh rupees. Isn’t it massive?
Now that we’ve proven that Pegasus is a real entity, let’s go on to the next step. Let’s go into the technical aspects of how it works.
What is the mechanism behind Pegasus Project?
Pegasus brings out bugs that haven’t been handled or detected yet. This implies that even if your antivirus software is up to par, you are still vulnerable to Pegasus. Pegasus infects your computer by sending suspicious links to your text messages, which is the most typical way of infection. It will be installed without your awareness after you click it.
Pegasus could be placed on your device via WhatsApp missed calls, making the spyware attack tough to recognise or analyse. By the middle of 2019, over 1000 phones had been infected in the same way.
So, what occurs following the installation, such as how does it work?
Pegasus monitors your text messages, emails, call history, WhatsApp discussions, and even your internet surfing history, acting as if it were a comprehensive surveillance device. The appropriate data is subsequently sent to the company, where it is used to make additional decisions and actions. This type of spyware can simply capture any personal information. This puts sensitive information at danger, especially in questions of internal security, politics, and defence.
Origin and Targets
Pegasus was developed at NSO in Israel, as we already know. It’s also crucial to comprehend the spyware’s journey. Let’s take a quick look at it:
2016: Researchers from the citizen lab, a cybersecurity lab, discovered Pegasus on the smartphone of human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor.
Pegasus was used in forty-five nations in 2018, according to a study released by the citizen lab. As with the most recent discoveries, India was included on the list.
According to WhatsApp, Pegasus was used to track and trace Indian journalists and human rights activists in 2019.
2021: The Pegasus Project, a global investigation based journalism effort, discovered that numerous governments used the software package to spy on government officials, opposition politicians, journalists, activists and many others. It mentioned that the Indian government used it to spy on around 300 individuals between 2017 and 2019.
What sets Pegasus apart from the rest of the spyware on the market? And why are its assaults so ruthless?
Amnesty International first detailed the use of “network injections” in its October 2019 report, which allowed attackers to install spyware “without requiring any input from the target.” Pegasus has a variety of methods for performing zero-click installations. One over-the-air (OTA) option is to send a covert push message to the target device, instructing it to download the malware directly.
This, according to a Pegasus brochure, is “NSO individuality, which significantly differentiates the Pegasus solution” from other spyware on the market.