The Pegasus Spyware Problem

Published 01 - September - 2021
emerging threatsransomwaregovernanceother
Source: ISF Live
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Pegasus spyware, is this a real problem?

Spyware is not a new problem and has been around the IT world for a good number of years, but this new variant in the spyware theme could be of more concern. This is caused by the way it appears to have been used. Written by the NSO group, an Israeli surveillance firm with the intention of fighting criminals and terrorists, it appears to have been misappropriated (as with much multi-use software) and used to target some people who are may be of nation level interest for other reasons, like rights activists and journalists. This is not the first time that software intended for legitimate usage has been taken on by people with a different agenda, like EternalBlue, which was used in some large scale attacks in 2017. Organisation often have the best of intentions when creating some of these types of software but they can often be on the edge of what is right and acceptable for many, treading that thin line into the BlackHat world. These tools need to be kept as safe and as far away from general public use as possible.


Cyber knows no boundaries and often has no obvious home, so the relevant law enforcement authority is tricky to pin down. We have to work together to create cross-border opportunities so that government cyber organisations like the NCSC can help, support and leverage knowledge from other countries, thereby enabling us all to be more effective at stopping cyber criminals. If nations work in isolation from each other than lessons will not be learnt. After all, cyber crime is global so the ability to combat it also needs to be global. Addressing cyber threats and issues that are outside of the normal jurisdiction of a nation’s defences is a very narrow minded approach. Only by a combined effort can we truly combat these global cyber criminals, who do not care where their target resides. The coronavirus pandemic has shown the power of collaborating across borders – the sharing of information led to vaccines being created and approved quicker than any before. This would not have happened if countries had not worked together.


Paul Holland, ISF Principal Research Analyst