Last week, major news outlets reported their discoveries of a spyware called Pegasus being linked to multiple phones belonging to journalists, human rights activists, and heads of state. The new revelation of governments spying on their citizens has brought up concerns about digital security.
What is Pegasus?
Pegasus is a type of malware that infects smartphones to allow operators access to extract messages, photos, and emails, record calls, and secretly activate microphones. Pegasus can go into phones and retrieve data without the user's knowledge by simply sending a text message to a person's phone. The most frightening thing is that the sent text doesn't even need to be open or seen by the user for Pegasus to work.
The spyware has been sold to authoritarian governments, which have then used this powerful technology for wrongdoings. Pegasus was created to surveil criminals and terrorists but has since been found in a leak to be used against journalists, human rights activists, and politicians.
Here's a thread that goes deep into what happened:
When the #PegasusProject dropped last week, it was both an ordinary and exceptional moment. The report - from @Amnesty, @CitizenLab, @FbdnStories, and 80 journalists in 10 countries - documented 50,000 uses of @NSOgroup's Pegasus malware.https://t.co/V8LpZG2UsV— Cory Doctorow (@doctorow) July 27, 2021
This whole situation has made people question their digital security and privacy. Many have brought up concerns about if this technology were to fall into the wrong hands. Edward Snowden wrote an opinion piece describing the dangers of digital security companies that I would recommend reading.
So what does this have to do with crypto?
Because crypto lives in the digital world and many people use and store crypto assets on phones and laptops, it should raise concerns for many that if this technology falls into the wrong hands, many people can be at risk of losing all of their digital assets.
The "On the Ledger" podcast did a great episode diving into the meaning of the Pegasus project and crypto. In it, they talk about the whole situation of Pegasus and its potential effects on crypto. They also go through some ways to keep you and your wallet safe from hackers.
Spyware should not be a thing, and it should especially not be used by governments to spy on their citizens. But, the continuing discovery of a vulnerability in technology and overreaching governments will most likely continue to create an environment where internet privacy is nonexistent. Until that changes, you should always be worried about your internet privacy. Just remember the basic rules: don't make simple passwords, always use 2-step authentication, and never share your seed phrases.