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Mercenary spyware

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: Business Line

  

Context: Apple issued threat notifications to iPhone users in India and 91 other countries, warning of potential attacks by mercenary spyware, including Israel’s Pegasus spyware.

  • The notifications, sent via email, highlighted the possibility of specific targeting due to the user’s identity or activities.
  • While Apple didn’t attribute the attack to any entity, it emphasized the seriousness of the warning and the rarity and sophistication of mercenary spyware attacks.

 

About Mercenary Spyware:

Mercenary spyware refers to sophisticated surveillance software developed and sold by private companies to governments and other entities.

Unlike traditional cybercriminal activities, mercenary spyware is often used for targeted surveillance, intelligence gathering, and espionage purposes.

This type of spyware can infiltrate devices such as smartphones and computers, allowing the attacker to monitor communications, track location, access files, and gather sensitive information remotely.

Mercenary spyware attacks are typically highly advanced and difficult to detect, posing significant threats to individual privacy, security, and human rights.

Examples of mercenary spyware include Pegasus, developed by the NSO Group in Israel, which has been implicated in various surveillance scandals targeting journalists, activists, politicians, and other high-profile individuals worldwide.