Israel-based Spyware Pegasus Into The Headlines

Israel-based software firm The NSO group-owned spyware Pegasus has raised havoc across the globe, after the software is reported to have collected data from about 50 thousand smartphones, including those of activists, journalists, business executives, and politicians around the world.

According to reports, numbers of Indian cabinet ministers, scientists, high-ranking government officials, and famous journalists have also ended up in the hands of the malpractitioners. Sources claim the number to be around 300.

The software, if inserted in the phone, can control the phone remotely, including the camera of the phones and other important messaging software. The database was leaked to investigating media authorities Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International in Paris.

According to the database, apart from India, there are fifty more countries where the hackers have collected information from with Mexico topping the chart with 15000 numbers leaked. UAE, and other Gulf countries along with European nations like France and Hungary were also exposed to the threat.

Being in existence since 2016, this is believed to be the second strike of Pegasus as the malware was found in leaking text messages of media personnel and activists in India back in 2019.

Forensic reports confirmed that there were at least 37 numbers that were already compromised in the attempt, including ten devices from India.

The database also shows almost a thousand prominent names from fifty countries were targeted in the process. Multiple heads of state, military, and security officials, more than 180 journalists, 600 politicians, and members of the Saudi Royal family were some of the prominent targets of the users. Assassinated journalist, Jamal Khashoggi’s wife, and fiancée also found themselves exposed in the scheme.

Chief of European Commissions Ursula von der Leyen has called the incident “completely unacceptable”. However, the founders of the firm, Shalev Hulio, and Omrie Lavie have maintained that their clients were 60 intelligence agencies from 40 countries.

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