Pegasus spyware used against Indian Journalists, activists: Current Affairs Special Series

Team Adda247 and BankersAdda are here with a Current Affairs Special Series. In this series, candidates will be introduced to current affairs topics daily, which will not only improve their general awareness but also will ensure that the candidates do not lack in any current affairs topic. Today’s Current Affairs topic is Pegasus spyware used against Indian Journalists, activists.

Pegasus spyware used against Indian Journalists, activists

Washington Post and 16 media organisation led by the Paris- based journalism non-profit ‘Forbidden Stories’ has reported military-grade spyware was deployed to illegally access smart-phones of journalists, human rights activists and business executives across the world including India after an investigation. 

The Guardian, one of the media houses claims that around 38 to 40 Indian journalists were targeted for specific surveillance using NSO software Pegasus. An independent forensic analysis conducted by Amnesty International’s Security Lab and it reported that the 13 iPhones examined in India 9 has shown evidence of being targeted in which 7 were infected with Pegasus. The Government of India has denied the usage of Pegasus by any official agency and reaffirmed that the allegations regarding government surveillance on specific people have no concrete basis or truth associated with it whatsoever.

What is ‘Pegasus’: It is a military-grade spyware which is leased by the Israeli firm ‘NSO group’. It is used for tracking terrorists and criminals on behalf of the Government. 

The spyware was come into the limelight again in 2016 after an investigation by the Guardian unearthed a list of potential targets, which included at least 180 journalists across the world.

WhatsApp exposed in 2019 that the Israeli technology had been casted-off to infect close to 1400 phones with the application installed. 

How it works and what gains through access: Pegasus spyware is installed on the user phone without the knowledge or any permission via an innocuous link that downloads the malware onto the device. It can’t be found until a thorough forensic examination. 

After affecting the device, it gives total control to the person spying on their user, with virtually all data accessible like texts, emails, WhatsApp chats and to turn on the device’s microphone for listing talks also. 

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