The Pegasus software that the NSO group used was so advanced that it can get activated on an individual’s phone by simply giving a missed call. Cybersecurity experts suggest five steps that can protect you from any surveillance provided you practice all of them. They include getting regular forensic examinations done of your device. Spyware like Pegasus is a zero-click or no-click software which gets activated on a mobile device even if the user doesn’t click on any link. The Internet Freedom Foundation, an organization that defends online freedom, privacy, and innovation in India, suggests three steps to protect your privacy.
Amitai Etzioni, of a leading technology company in India, said parents often gift mobile devices to their children to spy on them. He said it is not the first time this has been done by parents and even corporates use it for spying.
- In India, the government allegedly hired the Israeli company NSO to spy on political leaders, journalists, constitutional authorities, and its leaders as well.
- The Pegasus software that the NSO group used was so advanced that an individual could activate it with a missed call.
- When activated, it allows mobile phone owners to transfer all their activities to the company’s server.
- Cybersecurity experts suggest five steps to help protect you from any surveillance if you follow them all. Get a regular forensic examination of your device done: There are many anti-spy and anti-virus programs available which can help track spyware on an android-based mobile device.
- Mobile devices and computers are being used for surveillance on a much lower level, and even an individual can do it with the help of software available in the market.
The Indian government is believed to have contracted with the Israel-based corporation NSO to undertake surveillance on political leaders, journalists, constitutional authorities, and its own leaders, among other things.
In fact, the Pegasus software that the NSO group utilized was so powerful that it could be triggered on a person’s phone just by making a missed call to that person. Once engaged, it has the capability of transmitting all of the owner’s mobile phone’s activity to the company’s server.
The million-dollar question now is what you should do to safeguard your device and your privacy from this type of spying. In order to defend yourself from any surveillance, cybersecurity experts recommend the following five procedures, which should be followed to the letter:
Regular forensic investigation of your device should be performed: There are a variety of anti-spyware and anti-virus programs available that can assist in tracking out spyware on an Android-based smartphone or tablet. This is beneficial to a certain amount, but it does not provide complete protection. According to experts, consumers should only use anti-spy software from reputable vendors, else they risk being exposed as spies themselves.
Amnesty International researchers have publicly released the indicators of compromise (IOCs) that have been identified as being used by NSO to deliver Pegasus on GitHub, according to Shivam Shankar Singh, a cybersecurity researcher and co-author of The Art of Conjuring Alternate Realities: How Information Warfare Shapes Your World (HarperCollins, 2021).
‘Anyone may back up their phones and then use apps like MVT (Mobile Verification Toolkit) to hunt for the symptoms that have been detected,’ he continued. This would allow them to look for evidence of Pegasus on their device if they were to do so accidentally.
The URL is: https://mvt docs.readthedocs.io/en/latest/introduction.html (in English). However, one must have technical knowledge in order to do so.’
Don’t rely on a single mobile device for an extended period of time: In the event that you switch mobile devices, the software that has been downloaded and activated on the previous handset will not immediately transfer to the new phone when the sim card is transferred. If your cell phone does not transmit any data, the surveillant will quickly realize that you have changed your gadget, and he will notify the authorities. It can utilize the same method as before to download and activate the malware once more.
It is not advisable to click on strange messages or links. This is the most serious cybersecurity issue currently facing the world, since consumers, uninformed of the approaching fraud, click on such messages, allowing spyware to be placed on their devices and take control of them. It has the ability to access bank account information, personal phone histories, and any other information that needs to be protected.
This is most commonly utilized for identity theft or financial crime,’ according to the report. According to the data on cyber fraud, it is on the rise as a result of the increased use of digital connectivity. Apar Gupta, executive director of the Internet Freedom Foundation, an organization that supports online freedom, privacy, and innovation in India, says that user education and digital literacy are critical in informing people about mobile devices.
‘The technical safeguards, which are both on our devices and on our service providers’ portals, such as banks, etc., need to be significantly strengthened,’ he continues.
Keep your mobile phones disconnected from your computer: No-click or zero-click software such as Pegasus is used to activate spyware on mobile devices. This means that the spyware will be activated even if the user does not click on any links. It necessitates the exercise of extreme caution.
‘I’d like to make three suggestions. According to Kazim Rizvi, a public-policy policy entrepreneur and founder of an emerging policy think tank, The Dialogue, “First, because this spyware can travel from your mobile phone to your personal computer, users should avoid connecting their mobile devices to their computers in order to keep their sensitive information secure.”
‘The second idea would be to use platforms such as Secure Drop for the purpose of sharing vital papers and information,’ he continued. Another recommendation is to use encrypted platforms for messaging and communication whenever feasible because it is extremely difficult to undermine an individual’s privacy using encrypted platforms.
Accepting mobile gadgets or personal computers as gifts is not a good idea: Such surveillance is carried out at a much lower level, and anyone with access to commercially accessible surveillance software can conduct it against others.
Such Spywares are accessible in the market, with subscriptions starting as little as Rs 2000 per month and going up from there.
Many international companies that deal in technology that permit remote surveillance of cellphones, such as those that are used by law enforcement agencies, provide online services to consumers in any jurisdiction. Those interested in using the service can pay the required subscription fee, and the company provides software that can either be downloaded straight to the phone or transferred from the PC.
The software will record all chats and texts and send them to the company’s server after they have been downloaded onto the mobile device. Along with the program, the corporation will create a user ID password for each subscriber who will be able to access the server and view the entire chat,’ according to a cybersecurity expert who did not want to be identified.
‘Many parents in India, and particularly in the Western world, give mobile devices to their adolescent children in order to spy on their activities,’ he continued. Spouses give mobile devices to their partners for spying purposes, and even corporations use them to keep an eye on staff who are assigned to sensitive jobs.’