The boss of NSO Group, publisher of Pegasus, has just spoken with our colleagues from the Wall Street Journal to try to justify his vision, much criticized since the program became known to the general public. Yaron Shohat explains in particular having lost many customers after the Biden administration blacklisted his company. It must be said that Pegasus is now able to penetrate most iPhones and mobiles running Android, including when they are protected by an eight-digit access code.
Quite terrifying, however, this value proposition would be “necessary” for Shohat who, from the height of his fifty-two years, ensures that the orders continue to flow all the same. The leader takes the opportunity to recall that his main clients are law enforcement or intelligence agencies, but assumes that he has committed “errors” in the past. And for good reason : Pegasus was also seen spying on journalists or political opponents. But NSO would do its best to educate its users on the concept of abuse, to quote again only the words of its number one.
Pegasus may know everything about you, without you even realizing it
The Pegasus virus already manages to override the security measures taken by iOS 16, the latest version of the proprietary iPhone operating system presented at the Worldwide Developer Conference 2022. When the software infects a device, whoever pilots it can then extract the most sensitive data. what will from WhatsApp messages and intimate photos to emails, voice searches and password manager content. Even iCloud’s end-to-end encryption isn’t enough to deter the maneuver.
However, for everyone, the risks of being watched in this way remain minimal. We know in fact that the cost of the license to install Pegasus is of the order of several tens of millions dollars, which explains why it is mainly state organizations that buy it.
A role to play in cyber defense?
To establish its legitimacy in an increasingly competitive market, Yaron Shohat adds that putting a spoke in the wheels of NSO Group will only provide opportunities for potentially much more malicious players in the sector. The CEO mentions in particular the case of China and Russia, where we know that there are indeed some of the most efficient hackers on the planet.
Still to the east, we can also cite the case of Kim Jong-un’s North Korea, recently accused of stealing more than three hundred and fifty million dollars in cryptocurrency.