Cyber Security – CERTs, Policy, etc

[op-ed snap] Along came spyware

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Cybersecurity and surveillance

Context

WhatsApp has revealed that Indian journalists and human rights activists have been under the surveillance of Israeli spyware Pegasus. 

Disclosure

  • 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.

Surveillance

  • 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. 

Way ahead

Each individual should take precautionary measures to protect from spy agencies and cybercriminals.

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