Pegasus: We are all spied on, check it out for yourself

With this spyware, any mobile phone can be easily hacked. Online the tool to find out if you have been a victim. Marco VISMARA July 23, 2021

The NSO group's Spies-as-a-Service had already jumped to the headlines in 2016, with a Pegasus attack on iPhones based on vulnerabilities activated by answering a video call from a Swedish number that had surfaced. Between the prompt release of a patch by Apple and the overwhelming desire to think about something else, time passed and nothing else happened until 2019 when, thanks to a flaw in WhatsApp, the name of this company reappears on the media: among the victims also Roger Torrent, spokesman for the Catalan parliament at the time. WhatsApp then filed legal action against the NSO group. A few days ago, the Israelis got back to talking about themselves and their state-owned Pegasus malware. This is not a knight of the Zodiac, but a very advanced spyware system, which today uses zero-day attacks to be able to install itself on the victim's phone: zero-day in the sense of "Zero days", or the time that the defender has had available to respond to a security issue. The new version of the software is also able to install with zero-click, i.e. without the victim needing to click on a malicious link. A tool is already available online to check if a phone has been hit, but beware: it is certainly not a procedure for everyone. Among the excellent victims - in addition to the most common activists, Jamal Khashoggi and at least 180 other journalists in 20 states, not to mention the other usual suspects - there are names of the caliber of Romano Prodi, Macron, Cyril Ramaphosa - the president of South Africa, the Mexican Obrador and Iraqi Baram Salih, the prime ministers of Egypt, Pakistan, and Morocco and there even King Muhammad IV, for a total of at least 30 heads of state. President von der Leyen described the facts, if they were verified, as completely unacceptable and against any kind of EU rule. More than 50,000 contacts observed by Pegasus have been identified and a clientele that includes countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Hungary - as far as this disproves - and Azerbaijan. Snowden in an interview with the Guardian argued: "If you do nothing to prevent the sale of these technologies, it will not just be 50,000 goals: it will be 50 million goals and it will happen much faster than any of us expect." As underlined by our Director in his last hearing in the Chamber of Deputies, the dangers associated with the Internet and all its implications in today's world are concrete and must be addressed quickly and vigorously. This latest scandal has giant proportions, too big for this short article.