What is Pegasus? Why is It Harmful?

Internet is one of the important parts of our life and it is becoming a place for information, fun, and more. It’s also a place to share your secrets with the world. But you never want your privacy to be leaked by someone anonymously. Nowadays you may have heard about Pegasus. Whether you believe it or not, but Pegasus is very dangerous for your phones. Generally, Pegasus is spyware with roots in Israel that infects Android phones and steals data from them. 
This includes everything from emails to messages to contact lists. It may seem far-fetched, but it’s not impossible for this type of malware to exist today. With how much of our lives are reliant on technology, it’s better to be safe than sorry so you don’t become a victim of malicious software like Pegasus spyware.
Here are some ways you can protect yourself from this spyware and what you should do if you suspect that you have been infected by it. So make sure that you understand how to protect yourself from these malicious programs!

What is Pegasus?

Pegasus is a malware that was developed by the Israeli company, NSO Group. It is one of the most sophisticated pieces of malware ever uncovered. Pegasus can be used for espionage and steal information about its targets. It can also control someone’s mobile device to try and get them to open a malicious link. Pegasus is a proprietary commercial spyware package that can be used for monitoring a user's activity on the computer, intercepting textual chats, and taking screenshots. It is marketed and sold exclusively to government intelligence agencies by Israeli firm The NSO Group.

How does it work?

Pegasus works like this: the attacker sends the victim a link to a fake website. The link appears to be sent from one of your contacts, but in reality, the attacker has captured it and sent it back to the server. Once the victim clicks on the link, he downloads the malicious software onto his or her phone. The attackers can capture everything that the victim is able to see, including GPS location, call logs, SMS messages, files, passwords, and even messages to social media accounts. Because the victim is never notified that they have been hacked, the only way to detect that the victim has been compromised is to use something called a mobile operator check. When you connect to a secure network, it’s clear to see whether you have a valid SIM card or not.

Pegasus software can target any mobile phone in the world that has installed its software. According to experts, this software has been used by criminals and by repressive regimes to spy on journalists, activists, and politicians. Human rights groups have raised concerns that Pegasus could enable hackers to remotely activate microphones or cameras on a target's mobile phones. And that is against the privacy of digital computer ethics. The spyware can be installed on a target’s phone through a text message or call from what appears to be a trusted number. Once installed, Pegasus collects all the data in the phone, links it to personal data from social media accounts, and sends it back to its servers in real-time.

It also uses a voice-activated Trojan horse program that captures audio, logs all incoming calls and contacts, and identifies all open apps. In addition, it also has a fingerprinting feature that makes it appear that all the communications are originating from a trusted phone number or from a Facebook or Gmail account. As soon as the call is routed to Pegasus, it infects the device and takes full control. All the records of the person’s messages and call logs are stored by the system, creating a vast cyber-terrorist network that can be used to target other targets.

Why is Pegasus harmful?

Pegasus operates with the express purpose of identifying, collecting, and linking digital information gathered from any of the user's Internet activity to other information such as contact lists, calendar entries, photos, passwords, banking records, photos, emails, text messages, and even receipts. The software identifies and monitors a target's digital activities and creates connections, then gathers that information and sends it back to its servers in real-time. In other words, Pegasus is an advanced tool for surveillance. Pegasus can perform a variety of malicious actions.

Use of Pegasus

Pegasus Spyware is an expensive piece of software that can be used to monitor someone's activity on their computer without them knowing, as well as intercept text messages and take screenshots. This kind of software is typically used by governments to follow the activity of their citizens or other governments' citizens. As a result, it has been found in countries like Mexico, Syria, Morocco, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Chile, India, UAE, and others.

Why should you care?

Pegasus is marketed to governments, special services, and corporations that regularly engage in espionage and subterfuge around the globe. These kinds of investigations require a lot of sophisticated research and careful targeting, so they can easily be impeded if the whistleblower knows that the phone they are spying on is now being surveilled. Just a few months ago, the FBI used Pegasus to investigate Chinese hackers. It’s also the malware behind the attacks on Saudi and Qatari journalists. Yet, even in the face of multiple cases proving that Pegasus is capable of accessing mass amounts of data and evading basic protections in iOS and Android, no one has come forward to identify any victims of Pegasus. This is significant.

How to protect yourself from Pegasus

The company behind Pegasus, NSO Group, is an Israel-based cyber company that specializes in providing commercial spyware to law enforcement and intelligence agencies worldwide. Its spyware suite, Pegasus, is the world’s most widely deployed spyware. Like any other spyware, Pegasus can be extremely dangerous. This is especially true in the hands of government authorities and the user's own selves. In a global crisis scenario, the Pegasus spyware suite could easily be used to spy on targeted individuals and their families.  So, be careful while surfing the internet. Don't download materials from unknown sites. Use encryption on your secret documents. Always use two-step verification on your devices. Always up-to-date with your devices. 

The Bottom Line

Pegasus represents a new era in mobile surveillance and policing, which is a big deal for everyone. Everyone. And not just criminals, either. As technology has become cheaper and easier to use, everyday citizens have started to turn their phones into living, breathing surveillance machines. Pegasus should be used to collect evidence intentionally. From the perspective of the experts, this type of software can be used to gather intelligence on multiple suspects simultaneously or to discover who is working with the suspects.
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