Will Cathcart, the head of WhatsApp on Twitter, stated that NSO’s Pegasus was used to “commit terrible human rights violations” worldwide and “must be stopped” in response to an investigation by a global media consortium. This shows that spyware is being used to monitor activists and journalists. India is one of more than 50 countries where spyware is used as a cyber-surveillance weapon.
In 2019, WhatsApp sued Israel’s NSO Group for exploiting a vulnerability in its application to allow its Pegasus malware to access user devices. In a long Twitter post, Cascart urged human rights defenders, technology companies, and governments to work. Cooperate to improve user safety and hold accountable entities that abuse Pegasus spyware. “This is a wake-up call for Internet security,” he said. “
Mobile phones are the primary computers for billions of people. Governments and companies must do everything possible to make them as safe as possible.” Pegasus first reported to activists and advocates in 20 countries, including India, in May 2019. , Journalists and senior government officials are known for spying. It uses known vulnerabilities fixed by WhatsApp before it is made public to infiltrate target Android and iOS devices.
A few months after the spy case was reported, WhatsApp filed a lawsuit against NSO Group, the maker of Pegasus. The Facebook-owned company also worked with the Internet regulator Citizen Lab to identify more than 100 cases of abusive attacks against activists and journalists in more than 20 countries. Cathcart pointed out that the latest revelations show that the true scale of abuse is even greater.
We need more companies, mainly governments, to take steps to make NSO Group accountable,” he said. “We once again urge the world to suspend the use of irresponsible surveillance technology. “The new investigation is based on a large-scale data breach. It was conducted by 16 media organizations, including The Wire in India, and global media such as the Washington Post and The Guardian.
It found that Pegasus was used to monitor more than 1,000 activists, journalists, and corporate leaders Management, government officials, politicians, etc. According to security researchers, spyware can be installed on mobile phones by exploiting a common vulnerability. Once installed, it can transfer data such as text messages, emails, and even chats from WhatsApp and other applications to Attackers.
It can also provide GPS data to enable attackers to know the location details of their targets. NSO Group insists that it designed Pegasus only to monitor criminals and terrorists. However, new research by media organizations and discoveries in 2019 shows that spyware continues to be abused, targeting intellectuals without criminal records.