What is Pegasus?

 Spyware is any harmful programme that infiltrates your computer, collects your data, and sends it to a third party without your permission.

NSO Group's Pegasus is arguably the most powerful spyware ever made. Its goal is to penetrate Android and iOS smartphones and transform them into surveillance devices.

The Israeli firm, on the other hand, promotes it as a tool for tracking criminals and terrorists — not for bulk monitoring, but for targeted snooping. The software is solely sold to governments by NSO Group. A single licence can cost up to Rs 70 lakh and can be used to infect several handsets. According to a price sheet from 2016, NSO Group charged $650,000 for infiltrating 10 devices, plus a $5000 installation cost.

Pegasus takes advantage of Android and iOS flaws that have yet to be disclosed. This means that even if a phone has the most recent security patch installed, it could be infected. A previous version of the malware, which was released in 2016, targeted devices using a tactic known as "spear-fishing," which involved sending text messages or emails to the target that contained a dangerous link. It was predicated on the target clicking the link—a requirement that was removed in later versions.

Pegasus could penetrate a device with a missed WhatsApp call in 2019 and even wipe the record of the missed call, making it hard for the user to realise they were being tracked. 

Pegasus used a weakness in WhatsApp's code to infect over 1,400 Android phones and iPhones, including those of government officials, journalists, and human rights activists, according to WhatsApp in May of that year. It quickly fixed the problem.

Pegasus also takes use of iMessage flaws to gain backdoor access to millions of iPhones. A wireless transceiver (radio transmitter and receiver) near a target can also be used to instal malware.

Pegasus can intercept and steal almost any information on a phone after it is installed, including SMSes, contacts, call history, calendars, emails, and browsing histories. It can record calls and other conversations using the microphone on your phone.