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A rising concern for journalists worldwide is private Israeli spyware that was used to hack their smartphones. The results of an investigation involving The Washington Post and 16 media collaborators in early July 2021 revealed that “Military-grade spyware licensed by an Israeli firm to governments for tracking terrorists and criminals was used in attempted and successful hacks of 37 smartphones belonging to journalists, human rights activists, business executives.”
The Pegasus Project
The reality of this situation is that there is a specialized group of reporters and investigators intertwined with the internal affairs of royal families and crime organizations around the world. The spyware hack, known as The Pegasus Project, leaked very sensitive information such as phone numbers and locations of those journalists and people of high power.
When the software is downloaded, it can harvest data from the device and transfer it back to the hacker itself. The hacker can receive text messages, emails, photos, videos, location data, phone contacts, and even the camera will go live to spy on you.
This particular spyware is a great threat to those in power and has sensitive information that can change the output of certain situations. When encountering this spyware, it is presented like any other malware. To some extent, it is similar to that of a scammer SMS asking for a password or credit card information to pay a debt or to claim a reward.
Murder of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi
Trending in world news in accordance to this, headlines were made when various news sources revealed that Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi, was murdered in October of 2018 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
NSO Group Technologies has been accused of being involved in the murder of Khashoggi. The Pegasus spyware works by being downloaded from communication apps such as SMS, WhatsApp, iMessage, and sometimes an unknown vulnerability throughout the device itself.
Never download unknown data without knowing the source. Experts advise everyone to delete anything suspicious, thereby increasing safety.
Written by Darryl Johnson Jr.
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
The Washington Post: Private Israeli spyware used to hack cellphones of journalists, activists worldwide; by Dana Preist, Craig Timberg, and Souad Mekhennet
The Guardian: Saudis behind NSO spyware attack on Jamal Khashoggi’s family, leak suggests; by Stephanie Kirchgaessner
The Guardian: What is Pegasus spyware and how does it hack phones? By David Pegg and Sam Cutler
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Second Inset Image Courtesy of POMED’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License