Pegasus Malware

News: Recently, it has been reported that Pegasus, the malicious software, has allegedly been used to secretly monitor and spy on an extensive host of public figures in India.

Pegasus Spyware
  • All spyware does what the name suggests — they spy on people through their phones.
  • Pegasus works by sending an exploit link, and if the target user clicks on the link, the malware or the code that allows the surveillance is installed on the user’s phone.
  • A presumably newer version of the malware does not even require a target user to click a link.
  • Once Pegasus is installed, the attacker has complete access to the target user’s phone.
  • The first reports on Pegasus’s spyware operations emerged in 2016, when Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights activist in the UAE, was targeted with an SMS link on his iPhone 6.
Zero-Click Attacks:
  • Pegasus has evolved from its earlier spear-phishing methods using text links or messages to ‘zero-click’ attacks which do not require any action from the phone’s user.
  • This had made what was without a doubt the most powerful spyware out there, more potent and almost impossible to detect or stop.
  • A zero-click attack helps spyware like Pegasus gain control over a device without human interaction or human error. Zero-click attacks are hard to detect given their nature and hence even harder to prevent.
  • Detection becomes even harder in encrypted environments where there is no visibility on the data packets being sent or received. Most of these attacks exploit software that receive data even before it can determine whether what is coming in is trustworthy or not, like an email client.

Different types of Cyber Attacks

  • Malware: It is short for malicious software, refers to any kind of software that is designed to cause damage to a single computer, server, or computer network. Ransomware, Spy ware, Worms, viruses, and Trojans are all varieties of malware.
  • Phishing: It is the method of trying to gather personal information using deceptive e-mails and websites.
  • Denial of Service attacks: A Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack is an attack meant to shut down a machine or network, making it inaccessible to its intended users.
  • DoS attacks accomplish this by flooding the target with traffic, or sending it information that triggers a crash.
  • Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks: Also known as eavesdropping attacks, occur when attackers insert themselves into a two-party transaction.
  • Once the attackers interrupt the traffic, they can filter and steal data.
  • SQL Injection: SQL stands for Structured Query Language, a programming language used to communicate with databases.
  • Many of the servers that store critical data for websites and services use SQL to manage the data in their databases.
  • A SQL injection attack specifically targets such kinds of servers, using malicious code to get the server to divulge information it normally wouldn’t.
  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS): Similar to an SQL injection attack, this attack also involves injecting malicious code into a website, but in this case the website itself is not being attacked.
  • Instead, the malicious code the attacker has injected, only runs in the user’s browser when they visit the attacked website, and it goes after the visitor directly, not the website.
  • Social Engineering: It is an attack that relies on human interaction to trick users into breaking security procedures in order to gain sensitive information that is typically protected.