• Law Mentor

PEGASUS: THE PERILOUS SPYWARE OF ISRAEL - By Avinash Pandey.

Updated: Dec 15, 2019

The Israel based company "NSO" created a very precarious espionage tool which is named as "Pegasus". It's one of the most complicated mobile surveillance tools which has been produced by Israel. This particular spyware is well proficient of causing catastrophic damage to the data of the concerned person or any organization. Even If a person clicks on the anonymous message then it would be very easy for the Pegasus to export the data of the person to another party without the consent of that person. Pegasus can even interrupt data from end-to-end encrypted credentials.


Privacy concern due to Pegasus


As per the Indian laws, online surveillance infringes the privacy of the individual unless, without any valuable reason, it is very important to obtain all necessary permissions from the concerned authority in order to put someone into the surveillance. State monitoring is therefore subjected to consent by superior appointed administrators, no less the level of joint director or in distress circumstances no less than an inspector general of police. All kinds of duration are prescribed in the Information Technology act for the surveillance. state surveillance is subjected to the approval from the competent authority.


It's very clear that NSO is an Israel based organization which can't be held liable under the Information Technology act due to jurisdiction ambit. Recently, NSO intruded into the network of WhatsApp in order to get unauthorized access of various devices. It is very pertinent to note that the NSO has direct access to all the data which has been accessed by their servers, it could be very dangerous for the users as their private stuff are stored into someone's else device. The other matter is the intensity and range of the NSO scrutiny exercise, given that the Information Technology Act and the applicable laws necessitate a Review board to reconsider its interference controls at least once in two months.


Who are Victims ?


After observing the impact of Pegasus, the WhatsApp filed a suit in the district court of California against NSO organization, for getting unauthorized access and hacking the platform with the help of their spyware which impacted the users of India(around 1400 users are affected). while filing the complaint in the U.S court the WhatsApp included both NSO and their parent company, Q cyber Technologies stating that they violated the terms and conditions of their organization.Also, the WhatsApp pleaded for the permanent injunction from the Hon'ble court and possible ban on NSO. It has been reported that the Pegasus targeted the numerous vulnerabilities which were present in the application of the WhatsApp in order to get the access, also most of the people who were targeted in the whole incident were mainly human rights supporters across the nations. Various people from the human rights society are supporting the whole procedure because they were targeted unwillingly without any lawful justification, members from Amnesty international are involved as well.


How To Prevent Pegasus ?


Pegasus is a very unique spyware, when a person sends an anonymous message to the targeted person with an extra link and as soon as the person clicks that extra link, the particular software will download in the device of that person automatically without any notification somewhere in the folder of the respective device without the knowledge of the owner, hence that will export all the data present in that device to the intruder. Nevertheless, it's crystal clear that technology has been created in order to protect or help someone not to infringe the privacy of any other person or for personal benefit, also using technology for spying purpose is a very heinous crime in every nation.


Following steps would be very helpful to prevent this spyware which are :


  • Keep your operating system up to date, updating the system, again and again, gives more protection to the device because in every update the system gets new patches in order to cover up the vulnerabilities which are present in the system.

  • The user has to be very active while using any of the social website or any other communication application. If any user is getting any sort of mail or any message from an unknown source or from an unknown person than it would be very harmful to click those messages, it's better to verify the source and then react on the specific messages. Pegasus or any other spyware cannot enter into your system without your consent, it only depends upon the activeness.


- By,

AVINASH PANDEY

IFIM Law College , Bangalore

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