Cybercrimes have increased a lot, and the world has seen the most horrific cyber crashes over the past few years. Presently, the Pegasus spyware has been in discussions about its data breaching, hacking and other complications. Pegasus is a spyware that can be covertly installed on mobile phones and other devices, operating on some versions of Android and iOS. Pegasus was developed by a cyber firm named ‘Niv, Shalev, and Omri (NSO) Group’ of Israel. This Spyware is named after the mythical winged horse Pegasus, who was a Trojan horse who was able to fly through the air. The spyware of Pegasus is proficient in reading text messages, tracking calls, tracking locations, collecting passwords, gathering data, entering the target device’s microphone and camera.

On 18 July, some prominent global news agencies published details about Pegasus. Reportedly, this investigation was conducted by the Guardian and 16 other media outlets. And they particularly used the term 'Authoritarian Governments' for the people behind this snooping by Pegasus. More than 50,000 phone numbers were linked with the hacking. The report claimed that Amnesty International and Paris-based non-profit organization Forbidden Stories with accessing the leaked list, which it claimed was later shared with different media houses.


The media agency has claimed that hundreds of business executives, religious figures, academics, NGO employees, union officials, and government officials are included in this scam. Additionally, phone numbers of more than 300 Indian government officials, leaders, activists were also targeted. This surveillance also targeted journalists, including over 40 individuals from different fields in India. The potential targets can be some big political leaders and government officers. In an Indian Parliamentary meeting, the IT Minister of India Ashwini Vaishnaw has said that the Pegasus controversy is an ‘attempt to malign the Indian democracy and its well-established institutions”. “Any form of illegal surveillance isn’t possible with checks and balances in our laws and institutions”. He also said that the report itself clarifies that the presence of a number in the list does not amount to snooping.

The NSO Group has further dismissed the accusations and claimed to consider filing a defamation case. The firm has called the news agency's reports an attempt to discrete NSO Group on false grounds. The firm similarly noted in a statement to the British News website that, “NSO does not operate systems that it sells to vetted government customers, and does not have access to the data of its customers”.


NSO Group claims that it provides authorized governments with technology that helps them combat terror and crime. It has similarly published sections of contracts requiring customers only to use its products for national security investigations, and that it has an industry-leading approach to human rights.

Other than by its developers and customers, the violation of Pegasus was caught in 2016 after a failed attempt at installing it on an iPhone belonging to a human rights activist. And then an investigation exposed some details about the spyware, its capabilities, and the security vulnerabilities it misused. Later in 2019, even Facebook filed a case against the NSO group for building Pegasus. The security researchers at Facebook were tracking Pegasus across their systems, and they noticed that the software was applied to infect several journalists and activists in India. Another controversy happened in the same year when some WhatsApp users, including journalists and activists, received messages from WhatsApp telling them that Pegasus compromised their phones.


In December 2020, an Al Jazeera investigation show, Spy Partners presented exclusive footage about Pegasus and its insertion into the phone of media professionals and activists, used by Israel to snoop on its enemies and even its associates. The Pegasus is used frequently by various governments across the globe. So, this spyware never really went out of the news, and almost every few months, there are reports of how phones were hacked using Pegasus. It causes a huge dent in the privacy of individuals by hacking their phones. Yet, no concrete plan is currently available to prevent hacking, and one cannot eliminate the spyware. Some cybersecurity experts believe that the only way to get fully rid of this spyware is to discard the phone that has been affected and assure that all the reinstalled apps are up to date.

To safeguard the online accounts, one should change the passwords of all the cloud-based apps and services that were in the infected device. Big corporations like Microsoft, WhatsApp, Apple, Google, and others have covered the security loopholes in Pegasus. It is also quite old spyware and it has been well-known by many cyber experts around the world. However, this does not mean that there are no other modifications of Pegasus out there. And there is a huge probability of new alternatives of Pegasus with much other similar spyware. These cyber crooks can take advantage of people and organizations who have less defense to their cybersecurity. And all the advancement in technology is making these cyber attackers more effective day by day.


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