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Pegasus Spyware is Back And it Could Target Your WhatsApp: Here’s How to Stay Safe

- Updated: 19th Jul 2021, 08:02 IST
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    What is Pegasus Spyware?
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    How to Stay Safe?

Pegasus spyware has been described as one of the most sophisticated ever created. And now that it’s back in the news, it’s worth revisiting what it was and did previously.

When it was revealed that the Pegasus spyware built by Israeli cybersecurity firm NSO could target not only Android phones but also iOS devices with merely a missed WhatsApp call, it caused quite a fuss in 2019. Even the call record for this missed call may be deleted by the spyware, making it practically impossible for anybody to realize that they had been attacked by it.

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What is Pegasus Spyware?

Pegasus is a software program developed by the NSO Group that may be used to target a person, take control of their mobile device, and breach their privacy and security. Unlike many other types of phone hacking; Pegasus can be delivered to a user via a maliciously constructed message or attachment that can infect a user’s device merely by “processing” the received attachment.

In some circumstances, users were infected simply by dialing the user’s phone number; the spyware was able to wipe the call log in order to hide its tracks.

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On targeted devices, the spyware can collect data such as keystrokes (passwords), call and location tracking, as well as phone calls, SMS, calendar events, and other information from encrypted messaging apps like WhatsApp. According to Kaspersky, it may also be converted into a spyware device by remotely accessing the camera and microphone.

How to Stay Safe?

Pegasus is incredibly expensive software. The organization behind it has previously stated that it is only sold to authorized governments to combat terrorism and crime. The average WhatsApp user is unlikely to have been targeted by Pegasus, and WhatsApp had also warned users it suspected were affected by the spyware after it was first discovered.

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At the time, Apple delivered a quick security fix to address the security issue; and WhatsApp had already patched its app to secure users, both on iOS and on Android. So users need not be concerned about their safety at this time. However, no system is 100 percent hack-proof. Therefore, it is advisable to maintain your apps and system up to date at all times to ensure security.