PEGASUS – Needs an Alert Again in India

Recently reports have come up that Pegasus spyware attacked on devices of law agencies, journalist, business executive, human right activist in India.

This is not the first time, even its uses have been reported in 2019, where Facebook initiated voice against NSO, claiming that Pegasus had been used to intercept the WhatsApp communications of a number of activists, journalists, and bureaucrats in India. This has created a sense of security alert among the states worldwide.

Let’s us dig more into this spyware

What is Pegasus?

The Pegasus is the malware, a kind of spyware that can affect electronic devices especially smartphones without the knowledge of the target with the primary objective of hijacking confidential information out of them.

What it does?

Once it enters the device…it can load into any application. Once loaded it can open the calls, messages, what’s app to the second person hampering the privacy of the target.

It can destroy important files. It leaves no trace on the device, consumes less battery and data, even it can self-destroy itself. It makes very difficult to catch the source of induction.

It does not need a link to enter into device even the missed videocall can lead to its complete access to user’s smartphone. its works on ZERO CLICK.

It is used to hijack smartphones running on iOS, android and blueberry operating system. Can be installed manually also.

Who developed it?

Pegasus is a spyware developed by the Israel firm NSO Group that can be covertly installed on mobile phones (and other devices). Its foremost purpose is the surveillance for some unusual activities such as security against the terrorist and criminals.

Implications for its use now?

  • Internal and external security threat: – As warn by what’s app CEO for the security alert of the can led to leakage of confidential data.
  • Against fundamental rights of citizen: – it goes against right to privacy as a fundamental right under article 21 that talks about right to life and liberty.
  • Curb on freedom of press: – It directly attacks on article 19 as a fundamental right that talks about right to freedom of speech and expression.
  • Increase vulnerability towards terror attacks: – it can be used by criminals and terrorist to extract information
  • Political instability: – it may lead to blame game. The present government have been accused of its use on journalist and opposition party to gain on different grounds.
  • Distrust towards social media usage: – this led to uninstallation of various application like what’s app. That affects both these companies on economic and social grounds
  • Increases communication gap among people
  • Against the idea of Indian democracy.

What’s need to be done?

  • Cybersecurity

Many initiatives like cyber surakshit Bharat initiative, cyber swachhta Kendra’s, cyber coordination center took place. Also, CERT-IN is the nodal agency that works against cybersecurity threats needs to be more vigilant.

  • Legal framework.

The two legislation that works for protection of citizen rights in cyber sphere is Information technology act 2000, Telegraph act 1885 creates opacity. That’s needs to revisited

The personal data protection law still awaited.

  • Awareness among citizens

The first step would be to keep your smartphone up to date, to ensure that there are patches available for vulnerabilities that have been spotted. The second would be to not sideload any apps to the operating system. Lastly, users can also stop using apps and switch to checking emails, social media and more on the web browser.

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