Spying from Pegasus is very expensive: The cost of a license of spyware is about 70 lakh rupees

The report said that the government hacked the phones of journalists, lawyers, social activists, opposition leaders, and businessmen with the help of Pegasus spyware.
Image Credit: Dainik Bhaskar
Image Credit: Dainik Bhaskar

The spyware Pegasus of Israel's cybersecurity company NSO is in discussion. A joint report by 16 media organizations including The Guardian and The Washington Post has claimed that the Indian government spied on around 300 Indian mobile numbers between 2017 and 2019. The report said that the government hacked the phones of journalists, lawyers, social activists, opposition leaders, and businessmen with the help of Pegasus spyware.

After coming into the discussion of Pegasus, the big question is arising, can anyone buy this spyware? What is its cost in the end? Also, how does this work? We are telling you the answers to all these questions.

What is Pegasus?

Pegasus is spyware. Spyware means the software used for spying or surveillance. Through this, any phone can be hacked. After hacking, all the information including the camera, mic, messages, and calls of that phone goes to the hacker. This spyware is made by the Israeli company NSO Group.

Pegasus can be installed remotely on any phone or any other device. Pegasus can also be installed on your phone with just a missed call. Not only this, but it can also be installed on your phone through WhatsApp messages, text messages, SMS, and social media.

Source: Google/ Image Credit: Abp news
Source: Google/ Image Credit: Abp news

Who can buy Pegasus?

  • NSO Group claims to work only with authorized Govt. Pegasus is publicly known for its use by the government of Mexico and Panama. It has 60 customers in 40 countries. The company said that 51% of its users belong to intelligence agencies, 38% to law enforcement agencies, and 11% to the military.
  • The company's website reads, "NSO Group develops best-in-class technology to assist government agencies in detecting and preventing a wide range of local and global threats. Our products are designed to assist government intelligence and law-enforcement agencies." Help us use technology to meet the challenges of encryption to prevent and investigate terror and crime."

How much money will it cost to buy Pegasus?

Pegasus spyware is sold with a license. What will be its price, it is decided on the deal between the company and the buyer. The cost of one license can be up to Rs 70 lakh. Multiple smartphones can be tracked with one license. According to 2016 estimates, NSO Group charged around Rs 9 crore for spying on only 10 people using Pegasus. According to the 2016 price list, NSO Group had charged its customer $650,000 (about Rs 4.84 crore) for hacking 10 devices. Apart from this, $ 500,000 (about Rs 3.75 crore) was taken separately for the installation.

How does Pegasus work?

  • According to cybersecurity research group Citizen Lab, hackers use different methods to install Pegasus on a device. One way is to send an "exploit link" via message to the target device. As soon as the user clicks on this link, Pegasus is automatically installed on the phone.
  • In 2019, when Pegasus was installed on devices via WhatsApp, hackers took a different approach. At that time, hackers took advantage of a bug in the video call feature of WhatsApp. The hackers made video calls to the target phone through a fake WhatsApp account. During this time, Pegasus was installed on the phone through a code.

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