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Pegasus Project: As the scandal around NSO’s Pegasus continues to make news with its targeting of several big names in the world of tech, Apple and Google have been facing flak from everywhere. The scandal pertains to the alleged hacking of politicians, activists and journalists across several countries including India with the help of Pegasus, a surveillance software developed by Israel-based NSO. Pegasus works by being installed in the phones, which is why Apple and Google are being targeted for the loopholes in their software that allowed Pegasus in. And training the guns at the two tech giants is the CEO of Telegram Pavel Durov.
Also read | Pegasus spyware: Telegram founder says he was aware of being a target since 2018
Durov has alleged in a post on his Telegram channel that Google as well as Apple left backdoors open in their systems for such attacks to occur. He said that as per the Snowden revelations from 2013, Apple and Google were both “part of the global surveillance program”, implying that these companies were required to include backdoors in their OS along with other things. He further alleged that these backdoors were usually disguised as “security bugs”, but rather allowed agencies in the US to access the information on any smartphone in the world.
He added that the issue with such backdoors was that even if they had been developed for security agencies in the US, they could be exploited by any party who happened to uncover these backdoors. “Unsurprisingly, this is exactly what has been taking place” with NSO’s Pegasus, he said.
He also stated that he had been aware since 2018 that one of his phone numbers was among the potential targets for such tools.
Durov has targeted Apple in the past as well, speaking out against the iPhone maker when a report emerged in May this year that Cupertino had set different rules for China. He had then said that users begame “digital slaves” of Apple if they owned an iPhone since it did not allow any third-party apps to be installed or only allowed users to back…