Pegasus, NSO Group, India : the spyware technology that threatens democracy
. It can access every message. You’Ve ever sent. It can access every message you’ve ever received. It can access every photo, every video, every email it can turn on your microphone. It can turn on the microphone even when you’re not using a phone call just record what you’re doing in the room.. It can turn on your camera itcan record what’s on your screen. It can access your GPS, it can monitor your location. And it can do all of this without you ever knowing.. The spyware technology that makes this possible is called Pegasus.. Pegasus is probably the mostadvanced piece of spyware ever developed.. It iseffectively the most invasive form of surveillance, imaginable.. Any idea that you had that aspects of your life could be kept private and on the mobile phone are wrong.. So if you are someone who thinksthat you’re safe, because you use WhatsApp, which is end to end encrypted or you use Signal, it really is meaningless. Once that Pegasus is on your phone.. Pegasus can infect both iOS and Android, while remaining virtually undetectable.. So one of the ways that Pegasus will attackyour phone is through what’s called a zero day vulnerability.. This is a vulnerability that the phone’s manufacturer doesn’t yet know. Exists. Pegasus is the main product of a company called NSO Group, which is an Israeli surveillance company.. So the people who are using this spyware are government clients. These will be governments around the world that the NSO Group have sold a copy of Pegasus to.
. A Guardian investigation can now reveal widespread abuse of Pegasus by NSO’s government clients.. The reason this investigation is so extraordinary is that we at the Guardian, have gained access through Forbidden Stories. Toa treasure trove., Tens of thousands of records.. The leaked records include the phone numbers of thousands of people who have been selected as potential targets by governments with accessto Pegasus. Before we had an inkling that this technology was being used in abusive waybut. Now the doors have been just thrown wide open and we have a much greater insight into the scale of the abuse that has occurred.. Just because a number appears in this list. It doesn’t mean it was definitely hacked, but in some cases we’ve been able to go and check we’ve done forensics on the phone that the person was using at the time and in dozens of cases we found traces of either an attempted or a successful Pegasus infection.. What we know about NSO Group and what they’ve said for years is that this is a law enforcement tool, but I think what our investigations really revealed is the extent to which that is just a complete. You know fantasy narrative.. The implications of this software being used widely are effectively an end to privacy for the people who are targeted by it. That hasvery very serious ramifications for how people who have legitimate secrets, which is everyone, go about living their lives.. The most serious implications of something like Pegasus is that it makes it much more unlikely that a dictatorial regime will become a democracy.
, Because those were already regimes and systems that were obsessive about trying to monitor their populations. So they can control them and prevent them from you know, rising up and overthrowing them, and this technology exponentially increases your capacity to do that.. I do believe it poses a greater threat to democracy. It’s exposingthat.