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Pegasus Spyware Smartphone Hack – How it works?

Pegasus Spyware Smartphone Hack – How has this malware hacked 50,000+ Journalists & Political Leaders around the world?

Pegasus is the software mechanism designed by the Israeli company NSO Group that put the world. This malware has infiltrated 50,000 cell phones of various personalities including political leaders and journalists.

Several members of the Arab royal family, 65 business executives, 85 human rights activists, 189 journalists, and more than 600 politicians and government officials, including ministers, diplomats, military and security officials, heads of state, and prime ministers, appeared at the radar of the Pegasus spyware.

The investigation revealed that the largest number of infiltrations occurred in Mexico (15,000), where some of the main victims were human rights activists, journalists and politicians, especially opponents of the government of former President Peña Nieto.

What is Pegasus Spyware and how does it work?

nso group Pegasus malware

It was in 2017 when the first investigations about Pegasus in Mexico came to light. At that time 25 cyberattacks were discovered, although multiple personalities suspected that their phones were tapped. This year’s investigation has confirmed that the victims were way more.

Now many are wondering what Pegasus Spyware is and how it works. The system can reach the mobile phone of its victims in two ways:

WhatsApp video call

As a result of the security failure in the App detected in 2019, the software can be installed on the mobile through a video call and without the need for the victim to respond. A missed video call is enough. According to Citizen Lab, something like this is believed to have happened in 2018 with the hack of Bezos, one of the richest men in the world.

Malicious link text message

The software can also arrive through an SMS iMessage and other similar apps. With this, you are invited to click on a link. If you do, Pegasus malware will automatically be installed on your phone.

Having accomplished the task, the system is practically unstoppable. This software can listen to phone calls, access your browsing history, activate the camera and microphone, or access all the content of conversations in applications such as Gmail, Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram and Skype, according to a recent report.

Pegasus Spyware by NSO Group was revealed in a recent data leak

The Pegasus software, sold by the Israeli video surveillance company NSO Group, would have been used to spy on human rights activists, journalists, politicians and lawyers around the world, according to a media consortium that includes newspapers such as The Guardian, The Washington Post, among others.

A massive leak of company data was discovered, revealing more than 50,000 phone numbers. Against this, NSO Group has assured that the software is intended only to acquire and collect data from criminals and terrorists, but the investigation revealed that the scope was greater.

The Pegasus spyware would have been sold to a minimum of 10 countries such as Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Hungary, India, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Pegasus, the malware that spies on the mobile phones

This is not the first time that Pegasus Spyware has been linked to a spy network, as Facebook announced in 2019 that the NSO had taken advantage of the vulnerability of the WhatsApp messaging network to monitor hundreds of activists.

All the devices we use have vulnerabilities. Most manufacturers, such as Microsoft, patch them every month with the bugs that they become aware of, but unfortunately, there is always one that is discovered before by hackers, and who seek to get the most economic profit from it.

There are companies that sell access to these vulnerabilities through malware but claim that they only sell access to democratic governments and that they comply with human rights. Unfortunately, it has just been discovered that this is not the case with Pegasus spyware discovered in July 2021.

Pegasus owner NSO Group denies the allegations

The 2016 list includes correspondents working for agencies such as CNN, Associated Press, Voice of America, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, Le Monde in France, Financial Times in London and Al Jazeera in Qatar. There were also prime ministers and heads of state on the list.

Members from NSO Group have denied the accusations, saying that the report makes false accusations and unsubstantiated theories, in addition to that they are baseless and far from reality.

However, the truth is that the NSO Group has been linked to a multitude of controversial hacks in recent years, such as the one that ended in the divorce of Jeff Bezos.

The company took advantage of a vulnerability in WhatsApp that led Pegasus spyware to access of his photos and messages with a lover. They were also involved in the hack of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, the same year he was assassinated in the Saudi embassy in Turkey.

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