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Pegasus as part of the defence deal between India and Israel, worth $ 2 Billion in 2017

Israeli Spyware Pegasus(of NSO) has been brought by the Indian Govt.  was part of the $ 2 billion defense deal with Israel, as per sources reported on Friday.

As per the investigation report, on Friday- Israeli Spyware Pegasus has been brought by the Indian Govt.  was part of the $ 2 billion defense deal with Israel.

The highlight of report claims over India-

The source has reported that the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) had also tested this cyberweapon ‘Pegasus’ for years with plans to use it for domestic surveillance until the agency finally decided last year not to deploy the tools. FBI had been using a version of “NSO’s premier spying tool.”  It was the time when a consortium of news organizations brought forward revealed about NSO cyberweapons and their use against journalists and political dissidents. According to reports, there was a leak of a database that concludes the contact number of thousands of targets. That data further claimed to be the NSO’s target for tracking.

The international consortium working under the Pegasus investigation claimed that many Indian ministers, politicians, activists, businessmen, administrative personalities, and journalists were potentially targeted by the NSO Group’s phone hacking software.

In a report titled ‘The Battle for the World’s Most Powerful Cyberweapon’, said the Israeli firm NSO Group had for nearly a decade been “selling its surveillance software on a subscription basis to law-enforcement and intelligence agencies around the world, promising that it could do what no one else — not a private company, not even a state intelligence service — could do: consistently and reliably crack the encrypted communications of any iPhone or Android smartphone”, as per source.

The report also mentions – Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel in July 2017 – when he become the first Prime Minister of India to visit Israel.

“For decades, India had maintained good relations with Israel. The Modi visit, however, was notably cordial, complete with a carefully staged moment of him and (then Israeli) Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu walking together barefoot on a local beach,” report said.

“Both, Prime Minister of India and Minister of Israel had a reason for the warm feelings. The countries had agreed on the sale of a package of sophisticated weapons and intelligence technology worth around $ 2 Billion. Pegasus and a missile system were the centerpieces of this defense deal. “Months later, Netanyahu made a rare state visit to India. And following this, in June 2019, India voted in support of Israel at the UN’s Economic and Social Council to deny observer status to a Palestinian human rights organization, a first for the nation,” the report also said. The claims have been reported by NYT in its investigation report, published on Friday.

Until now, neither the Indian Govt. nor the Israel Govt had admitted this.

 

Must know about Pegasus – 

  • Pegasus, military-grade spyware developed by Israeli Cyber Intelligence firm NSO, is a highly sophisticated malware that can be secretly installed on the target’s device and has the potential of reading messages, tracking calls, collecting media files, accessing GPS, device’s camera, and microphone. Its powerful nature doesn’t restrict it to this much but its access capabilities can be more than that of its owner itself.
  • Though NSO claims that it provides only vetted governments with such technology that can combat terror and crime, the reports and ground zero analysis suggest the opposite. Database leak of around 50,000 contacts in 2020 revealed that the numbers belong to journalists, human rights activists, lawyers, judges, opposition politicians, diplomats, heads of state, etc. Forensic results of more than half of these numbers were found with evidence of Pegasus in it.
  • Pegasus attack by NSO group has been advanced over time from spear-phishing reported back in 20216 in the case of Ahmed Mansoor case to recently reported ‘Zero Click’ attack. A common phishing link is sent via text messages or emails to the target’s device that triggers the download phases of Pegasus on the device(without the victim’s consent) and sets a connection with the hacker’s command a control server. Successful evidence of the Pegasus attack has been observed in devices with OS versions of iOS and Android. Pegasus software can exploit all recent Android as well iOS versions up to 14.6. Although Apple released a security fix in iOS 14.8 to protect against NSO spyware.
  • For the sake of securing National Security, Pegasus has always been protected or uncommented by governments witnesses proves that it’s ground zero usage against the civilians is a clear violation of human rights and their freedom. Even just not surveillance but if this spyware is involved in blackmailing or attempting assassinations that become a threat to all of us. The same NSO’s Pegasus was found in the forensics of Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination case.
  • As these are visible proof to what extent these so-called surveillance technologies are made used by governments that can happen to be worst to individual life but there exists a greater threat on a bigger scale, especially in a democracy, where the fundamental rights of its citizens are on the stack in the name of national security.

 



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