tech2 News StaffNov 01, 2019 21:37:41 IST
The Israeli company NSO Group recently hit headlines after its software entitled 'Pegasus' was used to snoop on several high-profile personalities across the world, including journalists and activists in India. The company has, thus far, maintained that it only sold its technology to "to licensed government intelligence and law enforcement agencies to help them fight terrorism and serious crime".
But what is Pegasus? And what can it do?
Pegasus is a modular malware that can initiate total surveillance on the targeted device, as per a report by digital security company Kaspersky. It installs the necessary modules to read the user’s messages and mail, listen to calls, send back the browser history and more, which basically means taking control of nearly all aspects of your digital life. It can even listen in to encrypted audio and text files on your device that makes all the data on your device up for grabs.
The following excerpt from the Pegasus PDF briefly explains what the tool is capable of doing:
Organisations that deploy Pegasus are able to overcome the challenges mentioned above to achieve unmatched mobile intelligence collection:
- Unlimited access to target's mobile devices: Remotely and covertly collect information about your target's relationships, location, phone calls, plans, and activities whenever and wherever they are
- Intercept calls: Transparently monitor voice and VoIP calls in real-time
- Bridge intelligence gaps: Collect unique and new types of information (e.g., contacts, files, environmental wiretap, passwords, etc.) to deliver the most accurate and complete intelligence
- Handle encrypted content and devices: Overcome encryption, SSL, proprietaryprotocols and any hurdle introduced by the complex communications world
- Application monitoring: Monitor a multitude of applications including Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook and Blackberry Messenger (BBM)
- Pinpoint targets: Track targets and get accurate positioning information using GPS
- Service provider independence: No cooperation with local Mobile Network Operators(MNO) is needed
- Discover virtual identities: Constantly monitor the device without worrying abou tfrequent switching of virtual identities and replacement of SIM cards
- Avoid unnecessary risks: Eliminate the need for physical proximity to the target or device at any phase
To sum up: It can be used to track Android, iOS, BlackBerry OS and Symbian devices, and extract contacts, messages, emails, photos, files, locations, passwords, processes list. It can also be used to access password-protected devices without leaving any trace and even self-destruct in case it is exposed. Pegasus can also retrieve any file from a device for deeper analysis.
For an in-depth understanding of how Pegasus gathers data, refer to the PDF embedded below.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.