Best Hack Application – Pegasus can infect a phone using “zero-tap” attacks that require no intervention from the phone’s owner to succeed. Credit: AFP via Getty
This is the name of the most powerful spy that has been developed – of course by a private company. Once it’s linked to your phone, it can become a 24-hour surveillance tool without even knowing it. You can copy sent or received messages, take photos and record calls. You can secretly film through your phone’s camera or turn on the microphone to record your conversations. It is possible to determine exactly where you are, where you have been and who you have met.
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Pegasus is hacking software – or spyware – developed, marketed and licensed by Israel’s NSO Group for governments around the world. It can infect billions of phones running iOS or Android.
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The first version of Pegasus discovered, recorded by researchers in 2016, infected phones by the so-called secret vehicle – text messages or emails that trick the target into clicking on a malicious link.
The data leak is a list of more than 50,000 phone numbers selected since 2016 by government client NSO Group, which is believed to sell surveillance software. The data also includes the time and date when the number was entered or entered into the system. Forbidden Stories, a non-profit news organization based in Paris, and Amnesty International initially had access to the list and shared it with 16 media groups, including the Guardian. More than 80 journalists worked together for several months as part of the Pegasus project. The forensic analysis was carried out by the Amnesty Security Laboratory, the project’s technical partner.
The Consortium believes that the data indicates potential targets identified by NSO’s government clients prior to potential surveillance. While the data indicates the cause, finding a number in the data doesn’t tell us if they tried to infect the phone with spyware like Pegasus, the company’s signature monitoring tool, or if any attempts were successful. The many landline and US phone numbers in the data, which NSO says are “technically impossible” to access with its tools, show that NSO’s customers have chosen some targets though not infected with Pegasus. However, a forensic study of a small sample of mobile phones with numbers on the list found a strong correlation between the time and date of the number in the data and the start of the Pegasus service – in some cases, by a few seconds. .
Amnesty examined 67 smartphones where the attacks were suspected. 23 of them have been successfully infected, and 14 show signs of attempted penetration. In the case of the remaining 30, the tests are inconclusive, in many cases because the devices have been replaced. 15 of the phones were Android devices and none showed a successful infection. However, unlike iPhones, Android phones do not log information necessary for Amnesty’s investigative work. Three Android phones showed signs of targeting, including text messages related to Pegasus.
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Amnesty shared “backup copies” of the iPhone cards with Citizen Lab, a Pegasus research group at the University of Toronto, which confirmed that they showed signs of Pegasus infection. The civil lab also conducted a peer review of Amnesty’s legal methods and found them sound.
Although the data is organized into groups that refer to individual NSO clients, it does not say which NSO client is responsible for assigning a specific number. NSO said it sold its devices to 60 customers in 40 countries, but declined to identify them. By examining individual customer targeting patterns in the leaked data, media partners were able to identify 10 governments believed to be responsible for targeting: Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Hungary, India and the United Arab Emirates. Emirates Emirates. Citizen Lab also found evidence that all 10 were NSO customers.
You can read the full details from the NSO Team here. The company has always said that it does not have access to data about the goals of its customers. Through its lawyers, NSO said the partnership made “wrong assumptions” about which customers were using the company’s technology. They said the 50,000 figure was “speculative” and that the list could not be a list of numbers “targeted by governments using Pegasus”. According to the lawyers, NSO has reason to believe that the list obtained by the merger “is not a list of numbers targeted by governments that use Pegasus, but may be part of a larger list of numbers of Group customers NSO can be used for other. reasons.” target. They said it was a list of numbers that anyone could find on an open-source system. After further questioning, lawyers said the team based its findings “on a misunderstanding of the leaked data. access and open source information, such as the HLR Scan Service, which has nothing to do with Pegasus or any other customer target list. NSO products… we also see no connection between these lists and anything related to the use NSO Group technologies.” After the publication, it was stated that the phone had succeeded or tried (unsuccessfully) to be infected with Pegasus and also said that the list of 50,000 phones was too large to represent “targets ” of Pegasus. They say that the fact that a number is on the list in no way indicates that it is selected for Pegasus usage monitoring.
The term HLR or Home Location Registry refers to a database that is important for operating mobile phone networks. These logs keep records of phone users’ network and general location, as well as other identifying information often used to track calls and text messages. Communications and surveillance experts say HLR data can sometimes be used early in a surveillance effort to determine whether a phone can be connected. The Consortium recognizes that NSO customers can perform HLR searches by viewing on the Pegasus system. It is not clear whether Pegasus operators need to find HRL via interface to use the software; An NSO source emphasized that its customers may have various reasons unrelated to Pegasus for conducting HLR searches through the NSO system.
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However, since then, the NSO’s attack capabilities have improved more. Pegasus infections are achieved through so-called “zero-click” attacks, which do not require any intervention from the phone owner to succeed. These often take advantage of “zero-day” vulnerabilities, which are errors or bugs in the operating system that the mobile phone manufacturer does not yet know about and therefore cannot fix.
In 2019, WhatsApp revealed that NSO software was used to deliver malware to more than 1,400 phones, exploiting a day-to-day vulnerability. By making a WhatsApp call to the target device, malicious Pegasus code can be installed on the phone, even if the target does not pick up the call. Recently, NSO began exploiting vulnerabilities in Apple’s iMessage software, giving it a makeover for hundreds of millions of iPhones. Apple says it is constantly updating its software to prevent these attacks.
Research by Claudio Guarnieri, head of the Security Lab of Amnesty International in Berlin, has improved the technical understanding of Pegasus and how to find the evidence left on a phone after a successful attack.
“Things are getting more complicated for targets to notice,” said Guarnieri, who explained that NSO’s customers have largely abandoned suspicious SMS for more low-key zero-type attacks.
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For companies like NSO, installing the software by default on devices, like iMessage, or using it a lot, like WhatsApp, is especially interesting because it increases the number of times Pegasus successfully hits the number of mobile phones. .
As a technical partner of the Pegasus project, an international consortium of media organizations, including the Guardian, Amnesty’s laboratory discovered that there have been successful attacks by Pegasus clients against iPhone devices running the latest version of Apple iOS. The attacks took place in July 2021.
The forensic examination of the victim’s phones also found evidence that the NSO’s ongoing vulnerability investigation could extend to other everyday applications. In some of the cases analyzed by Guarnieri and his team, specific network traffic related to the Apple Photos and Music applications was observed at the time of the attack, suggesting that NSO has started exploiting new vulnerabilities. .
Where encryption or zero-key attacks are successful, Pegasus can be deployed on a wireless transceiver near a target or, according to the NSO brochure, simply carried by hand if an agent can steal the target’s phone. .
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Once installed on your phone, Pegasus can receive more or less any information or extract any file. SMS messages, address book, call history, calendar, email and web browsing
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