Pegasus – UPSC Prelims

  • It is a spyware created by NSO Group, an Israeli cybersecurity firm founded in 2010.
  • Pegasus spyware can hack any iOS or Android device and steal a variety of data from the infected device.
  • It works by sending an exploit link and if the target user clicks on the link, the malware or the code that allows the surveillance is installed on the user’s phone.
  • Once Pegasus is installed, the attacker has complete access to the target user’s phone.
  • One of the worrying aspects of the Pegasus spyware is how it has evolved from its earlier spear-phishing methods using text links or messages to ‘zero-click attacks.
What is a Zero Click Attack?
  • A zero-click attack helps spyware like Pegasus gain control over a device without human interaction or human error.
  • For example, an incoming missed video call was utilised by WhatsApp to break into targets mobiles.
  • So all awareness about how to avoid a phishing attack or which links not to click is pointless if the target is the system itself.
  • Most of these attacks exploit software that receives data even before it can determine whether what is coming in is trustworthy or not, like an email client.

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