Sunday, May 28

What is Pegasus: how does it get infected, what can it do and how to detect it

we will explain what exactly is pegasus, a type of spy application that is very sophisticated, and that has been used to spy on high-level political and social personalities. It is an extremely effective application, and it is usually sold to be used by governments, or at least that is what its creators claim.

On the page of the creative company it is said that it was sold to governments as a tool to prevent attacks and dismantle pedophile, sexual or drug trafficking gangs. Currently there are no references to it continuing to be used, but there are cases such as the infection of the cell phone of the president of the Spanish government or politicians from the pro-independence world that seem to indicate that it is still functional.

What is Pegasus and what can it do?

Pegasus is a spying application, a type of application that is often referred to as Spyware. It is an application that is installed on your mobile through a link and taking advantage of the vulnerabilities of your operating system, and that stays working in the background to allow remotely spy on what you do through your own device.

It is a program developed by the Israeli company NSO Group, and it is one of the most penetrating and sophisticated in the world of cyber espionage. Inside, it works like a remote control, so that the attacker or whoever controls it can remotely command it to do this or that function.

To give you an idea, the attacker can ask this type of malware to read your text messages or calls, obtain your passwords, or locate you via GPS. also can access your photos and steal themor access your information from applications and social networks, being able to read your conversations in iMessage, WhatsApp and Telegram or the things you publish.

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How to get infected on a mobile

The first thing you should know is that this program infects a mobile phone taking advantage of the vulnerabilities of its operating system. All operating systems have vulnerabilities, some since they are released, which are called day 0, and are the ones that these malware applications take advantage of to act.

These vulnerabilities are not known, nor are developers or users usually aware of them, so when someone finds them, they can report them so they can be fixed. And if they don’t find them, it may be that some cybercriminal found them first and is using them with some kind of virus.

Pegasus is spyware or spyware that is generally often requires victim interaction to run and access the mobile. As for how it gets infected in a concrete way, it is not clear because it is a fairly secret software, and its precise operation is not known. The logical thing is to think that it can be infected through links that are sent by instant messaging, but it has been commented that it could also be done through WhatsApp calls or using iMessage.

Filtered the magnitude of the Israeli spyware Pegasus: thousands of journalists and opponents spied on by governments around the world (including Spain)

Is it still functional?

This type of spyware is so sophisticated that no one really knows if it is still functional and being used right now or not. Right now NSO Group does not make any reference to this spyware or its use, although everything seems to indicate that it may continue to be used, especially with cases such as the infection of the cell phone of the president of the Spanish government or politicians from the pro-independence world.

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Google and Apple have been solving some of the vulnerabilities used by this attack in the past, since there are reports of its use since 2016, and it has been used since to attack different personalities from the Spanish and world political scene, as in other famous cases such as the theft of intimate photos of Jeff Bezos, from thousands of journalists around the world, and it is thought that perhaps also to obtain a list with more than 50,000 phone numbers from around the world that was revealed in 2021.

It is not known. Apple corrected the Forcedentry vulnerability with an update in July last year, which was the sophisticated method used by spyware to install itself on the mobile. The apple company is not aware that it has worked again on an updated iPhone. The company that markets Pegasus, the Israeli NSO Group, may have found some new method to infect mobile phones that has not yet been discovered by Apple or Google.

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Could he be spying on you?

Pegasus is a spyware that is usually used at the government level, and it is not usually known who hires it and who they want to spy on. However, it is normal to think that you are only going to invest in it to spy on people with a high political or social profile. But if you want to get out of doubt, there is an application with which to check which has been developed by Amnesty International.

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The app is called the Mobile Verification Toolkit, and you can find it free and open source on Github. What you have to do with it is install it on your computer and connect the mobile so you can analyze it and look for threats on it. It was created in the wake of the impact of Pegasus software, and helps to find out if you have various types of spy apps.

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