From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Nothing much
Mains level : Cybersecurity and surveillance
WhatsApp has revealed that Indian journalists and human rights activists have been under the surveillance of Israeli spyware Pegasus.
- This disclosure was made after WhatsApp filed a lawsuit in a US federal court against NSO.
- NSO, the bug’s maker has allegedly been helping governments around the world hack smartphones and place their on-screen activity under watch.
- Pegasus can reportedly gain access to mobile devices simply by making missed calls via WhatsApp to identified targets.
- Reports say that, by WhatApp’s count, over 20 Indians were under the scanner for about a fortnight in May.
Not the first time
- This is not the first time NSO has been sued.
- Victims of hacking had taken it to Israeli courts on earlier occasions.
- The spyware doesn’t just intercept network communication, it has the ability to steal your data, track your location, and much more.
- Intelligence agencies use whatever means they can to zoom into the lives of people who arouse suspicion.
- Most often, it reveals a pattern that suggests a state paranoid about dissent.
Each individual should take precautionary measures to protect from spy agencies and cybercriminals.