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Pegasus Row: Cyber Security Experts Find Proof of Spyware Use on Indian Citizens

The two researchers analysed iPhones and Android phones of seven and six petitioners, respectively. Of the seven iPhones examined, two were found to be infected with the malware

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Mahima Rabia
Mahima Rabia
Journalism student covering India

INDIA: Two cyber security researchers studying the alleged use of Pegasus on Indian citizens have told the Supreme Court-appointed committee probing the issue that they have found substantial evidence of the presence of the spyware on phones of Indian citizens. 

The Pegasus case

The Pegasus case worked as an awakening call in India. As alleged by WhatsApp, there were many Indian activists and civil members who were being spied through this spyware

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The three-member committee was formed in October last year in response to petitions from people who alleged they were targeted by Pegasus. 

The two researchers analysed iPhones and Android phones of seven and six petitioners, respectively. Of the seven iPhones examined, two were found to be infected with the malware.

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Different versions of Pegasus were found on four Android phones, whereas the other two were infected with variants of the original version present on them. 

“Multiple entries going back to March 2021 indicating that the Pegasus malware tried to delete entries from the process table databases,” said one of the two researchers in the affidavit to the Supreme Court. 

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The other researcher pointing at the purpose of the use of Pegasus said, “We have an emulator for Android on which we verified that it has all the variants of the malware. What we found is that this (malware) is so virulent that it could not have been used for legitimate purposes. It not only reads your chats, it can get your videos, turn the audio or video at any time”

The committee formed under the supervision of retired Supreme Court judge Justice R V Raveendran had on January 2 issued an advertisement calling for people who suspected their devices to be infected by Pegasus to get in touch with the committee before 12 pm on January 7.

It had further notified that if need be, it would request the person to hand over their device for further investigation following which it would be returned to them.

However, responding to concerns of the petitioners over submitting the device, the two researchers said that there was no need. They said that “an image of the phone” can be taken in front of the petitioner and the device can be returned.

Also Read: India, US Agree to Reinforce Cooperation in Fighting Cybercrimes

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