Could You Be Targeted by Pegasus spy Program?

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by Jakob Staubmann

The recent exposure of the Pegasus vulnerability has raised concerns about the potential targeting of regular individuals by less sophisticated hackers. While it is highly unlikely that anyone other than high-profile targets or individuals of interest to NSO (the company behind Pegasus) would have been hacked, the existence of this vulnerability leaves room for potential misuse.

Pegasus is a military-grade software developed by NSO and is only available to nations that have purchased this sophisticated and extremely powerful technology. However, despite its intended use for national security purposes, it has been found deployed to hack journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders, and dissidents in the past.

Instances of Pegasus being used to target individuals include a UK-based lawyer engaged in a lawsuit against NSO, a Saudi dissident, a citizen of Qatar, and Mexican journalists and activists. In the case of the lawyer, suspicions arose when random WhatsApp calls from Sweden were received. Although extensive forensic examinations of the handset conducted by researchers at Citizen Lab found no trace of embedded malware, they did uncover a digital footprint similar to that associated with NSO technology.

WhatsApp engineers also identified the issue and worked diligently to fix the bug. The Financial Times identified the actor behind the hacking as Israel’s NSO Group, previously referred to as a “cyber arms dealer,” and WhatsApp acknowledged the accuracy of the coverage.

While the focus of Pegasus has primarily been on high-profile targets, the exposure of this vulnerability raises concerns about the potential for less sophisticated hackers to exploit it and target regular people. This is a valid concern as the technology developed by NSO is powerful and capable of infiltrating devices to gather sensitive information.

However, it is important to note that the average person is unlikely to be targeted by Pegasus. The software is designed for specific purposes and requires significant resources and expertise to deploy effectively. Additionally, the vulnerability that was exploited has been addressed, reducing the risk of widespread misuse.

Nevertheless, it is crucial for individuals to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions to protect their digital security. This includes regularly updating software and operating systems, using strong and unique passwords, being cautious of suspicious links or attachments, and using reputable security software.

Furthermore, it is essential for governments and technology companies to continue investing in robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard against potential threats like Pegasus. Strengthening encryption protocols, conducting regular security audits, and collaborating with cybersecurity researchers can help identify and address vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.

While the exposure of Pegasus has raised concerns about the potential targeting of regular individuals, it is important to understand the context and limitations of this sophisticated software. The focus should be on maintaining digital security and advocating for stronger cybersecurity measures to protect individuals and their privacy.

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