Friday, November 15, 2019

Pegasus Spyware explained: Can takeover with just a missed call

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Social messaging application WhatsApp has confirmed data breach
by Israeli spyware Pegasus that spied on government officials, journalists,
activists, lawyers, and various countries globally, including India.

The breach news came earlier this week after WhatsApp sued NSO group for spying as many as 1400 WhatsApp accounts, News18 reports.

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Reportedly the messaging application has warned several Indian
users who are expected to be targets of the illegal snooping spyware.

However, only recently, a spokesperson from WhatsApp has confirmed a certain number of Indian users have been a part of the cyber-attack that happened in May.

“We sent a special WhatsApp message to approximately 1,400 users
that we have reason to believe were impacted by [May 2019] attack to directly
inform them about what happened.”

So how did this exactly happen especially when WhatsApp claims to offer high-end encryption methods?

This spyware ‘Pegasus’ is not ordinary spyware. It’s been three years since it was made.

This works by sending a link to a target user. Once the user clicks it, it is installed on the user’s device and it starts to contact control servers which allow it to relay commands so one can gather data from the infected device.

The spyware then steals your passwords, contacts, text messages,
calendar info, as well as voice calls made through messaging apps, in this
case, WhatsApp.

The spyware also enables the hackers to have access to your
phone’s camera, microphone and GPS to track your location.

According to sources, the spyware targets a vulnerability in
WhatsApp VoIP stack that is used to make video and audio calls.

Just a missed called on someone’s WhatsApp number and the
spyware gains access to the device.

Despite offering high-end data encryption for chats, WhatsApp
overlooked the security of its calling feature.

Researchers at the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto confirmed  Pegasus aka Q Suite or trident as flagship spyware from NSO Group.

The spyware can not only attack Android devices but can attack iOS as well.

Check out more stories at The Siasat Daily

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