What is Pegasus Spyware and Why You Can't Defend Against it?

Pegasus is a sophisticated form of spyware. Two features the make Pegasus advanced spyware is its ability to be placed on a device without the victim being tricked into downloading it. The second advanced feature of Pegasus is its ability to remain undetected.

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Pegasus Vs Other Spyware

Spyware is secretive software that sends user information to a database. Spyware is downloaded on a computer without the user being aware. This covert download usually occurs when the victim visits a web page that forces the victim's computer to covertly download the malicious program. On the other hand, Pegasus does not need to be downloaded by the victim. Pegasus can be placed on any device the attacker chooses.

  • Normal spyware can also come secretly packaged with a program the victim voluntarily downloads.

  • Normal spyware can also be the entire program, secretly disguised as a safe program.

  • Both of these tricks are not needed for Pegasus to get on a device.

After the successful download of the spyware, the victim's data on the computer is recorded and sent to the owner of the spyware.

Pegasus
How Does non-Pegasus Spyware Get on a Computer?

There are many ways spyware enters a user's computer. However, there are two very common ways:

  1. Trojan Horse- The spyware is secretly packaged with a program the victim voluntarily downloads or the entire program is, in reality, the spyware but looks like a different and innocent program.

  2. Compromised Websites- A website that secretly forces the user's computer to download the spyware.

Many phishing emails contain links to Trojan Horses or compromised websites.

Pegasus

Phishing scammers send email messages (phishing attempts) that appear trustworthy, or at least they try to make them look trustworthy. These phishing emails are made to look like emails that people are expecting. The phishing email can be used to get an individual to download spyware. As mentioned previously, Pegasus does not require the victim to download the spyware.



Where Did Pegasus Spyware Come From?

Pegasus was created by an Israeli tech company, NSO Group, for use by various countries to combat terrorism.



How to Protect Against Pegasus Spyware?

Unfortunately, due to how advanced and sophisticated Pegasus Spyware is, many without cyber security experience cannot protect themselves from being attacked by Pegasus.

About the Author

NSO Group

Peter Sandru is an Instructor & Co-Founder of NDIL with over 15 years as a Professional Investigator. Peter has spent more than a decade conducting investigations and security operations throughout the world, primarily for corporations, law firms, and government agencies. Peter has assisted in the creation of numerous investigative & security training programs in various capacities.