What is Pegasus Spyware? | What can do Pegasus? | How to protect yourself?

So pegasus is spyware, it infiltrates your phone or any other device, using a vector. The vector is what carries the spyware inside the device so it could be WhatsApp, it could be via messaging, it could be via mail, etc.

A global collaborative investigative project has revealed that Israeli company NSO groups pegasus spyware targeted over 300 mobile phone numbers in India.

Including that of two serving ministers in the Narendra Modi Government, three opposition leaders, one constitutional authority, several journalists, and business persons the wire reported on Sunday.

What is Pegasus Spyware?

Pegasus is a software developed by an Israeli security company called NSO. Now NSO has done many things but it's pegasus that has sort of been in the limelight for the past few years. 

So pegasus is spyware that infiltrates your phone or any other device using a vector, the vector is what carries the spyware inside the device.

So it could be WhatsApp, it could be via messaging, it could be via mail, then it installs itself onto the device and starts beaming out your data or what you are doing, your activity your internet behavior, all of that to the attacker.

Who is targeted using Pegasus?

Pegasus has been used to target a lot of important people across the world. Now NSO does not sell pegasus or any of its products to anybody out there, it sends it only to a government or a government's institutions, which also makes it more interesting. 

So it is spyware with the spine coats, which means it's traditional spyware used by spies but interestingly what's happening is that there's a lot of internal spying also happening which means the governments are using it to keep a tab on their own citizens.

How does Pegasus get installed on your Phone?

Earlier and pegasus has been there for quite some time we started noticing it around 2016 or 2017. It was pure fishing techniques which means you get a link and I'm sure a lot of you have seen suspicious links on your email, or in your message, on WhatsApp, even instant messaging like on a Facebook messenger. 

You would see a message which does not look right, and a lot of people won't click on it but a lot of people do click on it and that is how it gets installed.

But what has happened with this latest series of stories being done on pegasus, is that it's come to light that pegasus does not need to do that anymore, it uses something called a zero-click vulnerability. 

This means it can install itself onto a device without the user actually initiating an action or just making a mistake, so that is not needed. 

This means let's say technically you get an email that has this malware or the spyware in it and you have a client on your phone like your Gmail, AppleMail, or any other mail client which downloads emails even before it scans it like as if the email has already been downloaded before it checks whether there's a problem with this. 

In those things, it already gets installed even before you can act on it, and in this case, it's even more worrying because the user does not know he's been attacked, there is no way to prevent it because you are not really doing anything to do it so it gets very-very tricky.

Once installed what can do Pegasus?

So, there is a team called Amnesty Internation Team, which is looking at this pegasus, data dump, and like who's been attacked and all and they are saying that it actually gives you more control or the attacker gets more control on the phone than the user itself.

Because on an iphone it goes into the root files, which means it can change anything so it actually reads or it can see everything that you are doing on the phone without an exception.

And it can also then transmit this data to the attacker, so the attacker gets files, data logs, your contacts, your emails, all of that can be read by the attackers.

How to know if you are being attacked?

So it's very difficult for the user to know he or she has been targeted and you will see maybe that your phone is slowing up at times and might not realize it's happening because of spy spyware.

Because most of the phones as they get older do tend to become slower, and they do hang at times so you don't think that it's something malicious happening.

How can you protect yourself from this Pegasus Spyware?

Always back up your data on an external device or in the cloud so you have it if something happens to your phone.

Only install apps from sources you trust like Google Play Store or Apple App Store. And check for any permissions they request before allowing them access to your data or location information.

Be cautious about giving out personal information to people online and do not click on links sent by suspicious emails or texts.

1. Stay Away From Fake Apps

Hey, this cool app will show you who visited your profile!!!” “With this program, you can read other people's correspondence” — see it on the Internet? Don't download. Firstly, because reading other people's messages is indecent, and secondly, when you download programs like this, you risk becoming trapped. That's the irony.

How often do you click “Accept conditions” or “Allow access” on your phone? Attackers hope that people don't pay attention to such things. 

It’s better not to download programs from unreliable developers at all. Fortunately, special programs show which apps on your phone users access the camera, voice recorder, GPS, messages, and other data.

Immediately remove such apps if you don't trust them. Also, in the phone settings, you can restrict any programs from accessing your data. 

2. Change your Passwords regularly

The easiest and most banal way – regularly change passwords on your gadgets. Anybody can see your password or you can leave it on an insecure site, so try to change it at least once a month.

And let it not be something kinda "qwerty" or "1111." And especially not your date of birth. Many sites and applications send alerts to your mail if someone tries to log into your account. In this case, the password should be changed immediately. 

3. Monitor Apps Permissions

While you won’t see the Pegasus spyware just hanging around like an app, it could be embedded inside any or every app like Whatsapp, Mail, Instagram, and more. So make sure to keep an eye out for permissions an app is using.

4.  SMS code 

When entering personal details on a website, use not only a password but also an SMS code. An attacker won't be able to enter your profile if they know the password, but don't have an SMS code or OTP. 

5. Keep your pc, phone, or any other device up to date with the latest security update

So many people don't like to update the software on their phones, PCs, or any other devices for various reasons. Hackers constantly find loopholes to crack your devices but, fortunately, developers respond to this very quickly by releasing an update with improved protection. 

6. Keep monitoring apps permissions

Always keep checking that any apps are not taking unwanted permissions of your devices.

7. Be aware of Unknown Links

There are a lot of spammy sites where you can find cheap products and services, but there is a risk that you may be giving your personal information away to these shady companies. 

So, stay safe from Pegasus Spyware and keep enjoying your awesome life!

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