Is your privacy at risk? What is Pegasus, the spyware that attacked Indians via Whatsapp?
“your privacy could well just be a myth. And when we say privacy, it involves your messages, your passwords and even access to your phone’s camera!"
The answer is a yes and a no. If you are somebody popular, someone who takes on a lot of powerful people then yes, your privacy could be at risk. You can be spied upon and not just through Whatsapp but via email or any message service. They just need a route to enter your phone. But isn’t your privacy absolutely unbreakable? Well, the answer is no. If there is somebody out there interested enough in you and with truckloads of money in their banks, then your privacy could well just be a myth. And when we say privacy, it involves your messages, your passwords and even access to your phone’s camera! And nothing here is being said just like that.
Whatsapp has filed a case against an Israeli company which deals in hacking software. NSO, the company in question here claims that its hacking softwares are only meant for ethical use like snooping upon terrorists and preventing attacks. However, Whatsapp in the lawsuit filed against the company has alleged that NSO was involved in helping certain clients spy on several Whatsapp users across different countries, including India!
Several Indian journalists and activists were sent messages by Whatsapp informing them that their privacy has been compromised by a spyware called Pegasus. Several amongst them pointed fingers at the government. Who else could be powerful enough to pull off something at that scale? NSO’s policy of selling spywares only to government customers also raises suspicions about government involvement. However, the amount of money that is being owned privately these days, this could also be a deed of some big company or organization. The Indian government has quite obviously denied these allegations. In fact, the government has gone on to question Whatsapp over the privacy breach of its citizens. Caught at crosshair, the Facebook owned company has recently introduced a finger print lock in its app –a little too late?
What is Pegasus?
Pegasus is so dangerous and intrusive that it should have already been making headlines from years ago. The fact that a company actually possesses the power to literally peep into your life through the course of the day is alarming. The spyware knocks at your phone in the form of a link sent through Whatsapp, Email or any other chat service. A single click can land you into clutches of the most powerful spyware in the world. You will end up presenting your personal life on a platter to somebody sitting miles away from you.
Pegasus is infamous for its abuse since beginning. In 2016, Ahmed Mansoor, a UAE based activist was attacked by Pegasus. The perpetrator was none other than the UAE government! Mansoor was involved in several protests against the government. He had become a thorn in the foot. And the government wanted to dig up his roots. However, it was the ‘third’ such attack on Mansoor and he carefully avoided being trapped. The previous two attacks were orchestrated by other spyware companies, which simply means, the dirty works have been happening even before Pegasus arrived in picture.
Mansoor’s case suggests that it’s totally possible that several governments across the globe might have replicated what UAE did. If NSO could sell the spyware to UAE government for snooping upon an activist, it most probably can stoop to any level for those millions! Nobody really is safe in this vastly connected world these days. You should stop blindly trusting companies. Be very sure on what you click and what you put in your phone. And even if you take all the precautions, you might still end up getting snooped upon. Nobody knows about the kind of state-of-the-art technology owned by these notorious elements. Hacking is real. And your personal life is at risk!