By Dr. Jaijit Bhattacharya
On July 18, the world erupted with news coming in that 50,000 phones globally were being snooped into. The technology used to snoop into these phones is allegedly a spyware called Pegasus, that has been created by an Israeli company called NSO. This is a company that was sold to a private equity firm called Francisco Ventures, and then bought back by the founders in 2019. The name of the spyware, Pegasus, in itself explains what it does – it stands for a winged trojan horse that “flies” into your phone, “over the air”. It essentially implies that without your knowledge, the spyware embeds itself into your phone. And it does so “over the air” as a mobile phone is essentially a wireless device.
The first question that comes up is whether this is at all technically possible. The answer is that it is certainly in the realm of possibility. If the systems of an Iranian nuclear centrifuge could be hacked, even though they were not connected to the internet in any way, a connected mobile phone can certainly be hacked, if enough resources are allocated to do so.
This article first appeared in Outlook India, http://admin.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/india-news-the-pegasus-whodunnit/304799
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