Meet the shadowy security firm from Israel whose technology is believed to be at the heart of the massive WhatsApp hack – Business Insider

NSO showed off demonstrations of its mobile phone hacks on a BlackBerry, iPhone, and Android phones in 2013, according to leaked emails from a breach of Hacking Team, a competitor of the company based in Italy.

“Your smartphone today is the new walkie-talkie,” NSO cofounder Omri Lavie told the Financial Times that year. “Most of your typical solutions for interception are inadequate, so a new tool had to be built.”

Pegasus can infect a targeted phone in two ways, both of which are through SMS text messaging. Its “zero-click” vector allows an attacker to send a special SMS message to a target which causes the phone to automatically load a malicious link, while its “one-click” vector requires a user to click a link to infect their device, which happens in the background without a user ever knowing.

Once infected, spies can actively record with the phone’s microphone or video camera, grab personal data like calendars, contacts, and passwords, or download all the data on the device, to include emails, photos, and browsing history.

“We’re a complete ghost,” Lavie told Defense News in 2013. “We’re totally transparent to the target, and we leave no traces.”

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