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Current Affairs

Pegasus row in Andhra Pradesh

Date: 24 March 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A committee will be set up by the Andhra Pradesh government to find out if the previous government bought and used the Pegasus spyware.

 

Background

The investigations follow the statement made by Chief Minister of West Bengal that Andhra Pradesh used the spyware during the tenure of Chandrababu Naidu.

 

Details

The ministers of Andhra Pradesh said that an investigation will be needed to find out if the spyware was indeed used in the state.

 

Allegations

  • The ministers believe that former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu used the spyware to keep tab on rival politicians, including current Chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.

  • The TDP government may have tapped phones of rival politicians as well as voters to gauge their mood. However, there are no evidences to prove the allegations.

 

Response

  • TDP leaders have dismissed the allegations and say that Mamata Banerjee may have been misinformed about the spyware.

  • They say that the ruling government would have come to know if such a spyware had been used by the government.

 

Pegasus spyware controversy

  • The Supreme Court had ordered enquiry into the allegations of use of the spyware by the ­Centre or any state government, or any central or state agency against Indian citizens.

  • The government has rejected the allegations made in The New York Times regarding buying of the spyware in 2017 during Prime Minister Modi’s tour of Israel.

 

Pegasus spyware

  • Pegasus is a hacking software, developed and marketed by the Israeli company NSO Group.

  • It can illegally infect phones operating on IOS and Android operating systems by making use of vulnerability.

 

Attack style

  • The spyware employs a “zero-click” method under which actions does not need interaction with user of the phone.

  • A malicious code could be installed in the phone simply by sending a whatsApp call, even if the user does not attend it.

 

Threat

Once installed oh phone, Pegasus can harvest information such as SMS messages, address books, call history, calendars, emails and internet browsing histories.