Saturday, July 9, 2022

Pegasus Spyware - RCMP using it

The RCMP submitted a document to parliament outlining how a special team covertly infiltrates mobile devices of Canadians. The tools have been used on at least 10 investigations between 2018 and 2020. Cops have access to text messages, email, photos, videos, audio files, calendar entries and financial records. Critics say the spyware has little to no government oversight. Called the Pegasus project, an investigation revealed that spyware licensed by the Israeli firm NSO Group had been used to hack smartphones belonging to journalists, lawyers and human rights activists around the world. RCMP has been evasive and misleading about how it conducts surveillance on Canadians. Canada’s privacy commissioner found cops had broken the law six times when it used mobile device identifiers, known as IMSI catchers or stingrays.
Dutch police used controversial Israeli spyware to catch Kinahan associate Ridouan Taghi. Pegasus is spyware developed by Israeli cyber-arms company NSO Group that can be covertly installed on mobile phones (and other devices) running most versions of iOS and Android. Pegasus is able to exploit iOS versions up to 14.6, through a zero-click exploit. As of 2022, Pegasus was capable of reading text messages, tracking calls, collecting passwords, location tracking, accessing the target device's microphone and camera, and harvesting information from apps.
Pegasus spyware has become a huge source of controversy across the globe. Last month, it emerged that mobile phones belonging to Spain's prime minister and defence minister were infected by Pegasus spyware.