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How does Pegasus spyware work? Can you detect it on your phone?

Vinod Bhattathiripad, cyber forensic expert and honorary chief technology advisor of Kerala Police Director General of Police, demystifies the controversial Pegasus Project.

How does Pegasus spyware work? Can you detect it on your phone-VPN
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New Delhi, First Published Jul 19, 2021, 12:04 AM IST
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Pegasus, the spyware developed by Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group, is once again back in focus over its alleged misuse by "vetted clients" of the companies who use it to break into iPhones and Android devices of persons of interest.

While the spyware was originally designed to track down terrorists, according to media reports, the scope and utility of the spyware have far exceeded its stated objectives.

Wondering how the Pegasus can sneak into your device and extract personal information? The answer to that question begins with the understanding that nearly every smartphone is vulnerable to spyware attacks.

Simply put, spyware is a malicious piece of code aimed at collecting information from someone's computer, phone or other devices. 

In the case of Pegasus, it can arrive as a trap link in an SMS text message or iMessage, which needs to be just tapped to activate. The software secretly passes on information to the person or group, or government agency seeking it. 

Pegasus is believed to be able to mimic the phone's most basic functions and tap into the phone's camera and microphone and gets access to the victim's call logs and contacts.

The hackers can get access to your photos, recordings, passwords, call logs and even social media posts. And the worst part, there is no way victims will ever know that they have been targeted.

Vinod Bhattathiripad, cyber forensic expert and honorary chief technology advisor of Kerala Police Director General of Police, further demystifies the controversial Pegasus Project.

Also Read: 

New Pegasus scandal erupts; Phones of 50,000 people targeted using Israeli firm's spyware

Govt: Claims of snooping using Pegasus are conjecture, an attempt to malign Indian democracy

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