- The phones targeted were infiltrated by a malicious software called Pegasus, which is sold by the NSO Group.
- The spyware can secretly unlock the target’s phone, computer or other devices, collect information and transfer it to another device without the permission of the user.
- The Israeli company has said it sells Pegasus only to government agencies to fight terrorism and other serious crimes and that it does not operate the spyware licensed to its clients.
- It can be used to infiltrate smartphones that run on both iOS and Android operating systems, and turn them into surveillance devices.
- Pegasus’s method of attack is called zero-click attacks, which do not require any action by the user.
- It will alter call logs so that the user has no knowledge of what happened.
- Once the spyware enters the device, it installs a module to track call logs, read messages, emails, calendars, internet history, and gather location data to send the information to the attacker.
- It can also be installed manually on a device or over a wireless transceiver.
- If it fails to connect its command-and-control server for more than 60 days, it self-destructs and removes all traces.
- If it detects that it was installed on the wrong device or SIM card, it will self-destruct.
- Amnesty international noted that despite issuing security updates, Android and iOS devices were breached.
- To stay safe, users need to ensure that software in devices is updated and all apps are installed directly through the official stores. No suspicious email or text should be clicked.