Top global tech firms join hands to clip wings of Pegasus

New Delhi: Major global tech firms such as Amazon, Microsoft and WhatsApp have joined hands against NSO Group, which created the Pegasus spyware. For instance, Amazon has terminated all its cloud-based web services to the Israeli company.

Amnesty International, which carried out a forensic examination of the mobiles affected by the spyware, had found that NSO was utilizing Amazon’s services. Incidentally, Amazon had not reacted when the connection was exposed last year.

Meanwhile, Will Cathcart, the head of WhatsApp, which has been leading the legal battle against NSO Group, came out with more stringent criticism. “The latest developments prove that our charges against NSO which we have been raising for years are true,” he said. Cathcart also urged various governments and firms to counter the activities of NSO.

Back in 2019, it was WhatsApp that made the first move against Pegasus, alleging that data related to 1,400 people were leaked using the spyware taking advantage of a flaw in WhatsApp. Subsequently, a confrontation occurred between the Indian government and WhatsApp. The tech firm, rejecting the charge of the government that it had not issued a warning about the spyware, pointed out that alerts had been given twice.

However, during a hearing in the Supreme Court of India over the UPI payments case, WhatsApp argued that the messaging app could not be hacked with Pegasus. In the most recent row, the government has referred to this argument of WhatsApp to defend itself.

In the US courts too, WhatsApp had taken on NSO. During that legal battle, firms such as Google, Cisco and VMware had joined WhatsApp.

At that time, the customer security officer of Microsoft also had come out against NSO’s softwares. Incidentally, Candiru, another firm engaged in activities similar to that of NSO, had taken advantage of a bug in Microsoft and the fault has been rectified in the latest update of Microsoft on July 13.


Signal’s reaction, Apple shares tumble

Meanwhile, another messaging app Signal reacted to the development saying that the government’s moves to weaken the encryption and the release of the Pegasus report was a curious coincidence.

The revelations have also affected another tech giant Apple as it was mentioned that Pegasus has bypassed the security of the iMessage app. As Apple’s shares fell by 2.3 per cent, the company said that it would enhance security. Pegasus can hack an iPhone even with an unopened link termed, ‘Zero click iMessage exploit.’

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