The powerful Israeli military-grade spyware made international headlines on Sunday, when media investigations discovered that at least 50,000 people across over a dozen nations had their cellphones targeted in sophisticated hack attacks that stole info and turned devices into mobile bugs.
Governments, journalists, opposition politicians and rights groups worldwide are demanding formal investigations into Pegasus, the spyware product created by shadowy Israeli software company NSO Group. Sold to states to ‘fight terrorism and crime’, the software has been discovered to have been used in unscrupulous ways to target members of the press, lawmakers and others, helping to stamp out dissent or allow governments to get ahead of potentially embarrassing scandals.
How It Works
Pegasus is not your typical ‘one-click’ piece of malware which requires user interaction – usually by following on a malicious link, to get access to a device. Instead, the spyware infects phones through a so-called zero-click attack, which needs no interaction from the target whatsoever to install itself and begin harvesting data.
Once installed, the spyware, which is compatible with both Android and Apple iOS, can gain access to all manner of data on a user’s phone, from contacts and encrypted messages to call records, photos, and GPS location data. What’s more, it’s capable of turning microphones and cameras on or off remotely, thus turning the user’s device into a mobile listening or…