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How much does Pegasus spyware cost to operate?

The company also charged an annual maintenance fee of 17 per cent of the total price
Last Updated : 31 July 2021, 07:33 IST
Last Updated : 31 July 2021, 07:33 IST

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Politicians, rights activists and journalists were among those targeted in several countries, including India, using Pegasus, a phone spyware sold to various governments by an Israeli firm, NSO Group, according to an international media consortium including The Washington Post, Guardian and The Wire.

Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and several activists and journalists were named as potential targets using the spyware, according to report by The Wire.

The political row arising out of the series of allegations has now caused disruptions in the Parliament for the entire Monsoon Session. Opposition MPs have been questioning the government and asking for a structured debate in the Parliament.

However, a question that is raised often is the cost of using the spyware.

The New York Times reported in 2016 that the NSO Group charged customers $500,000 just to install the software and $650,000 to get into 10 devices. The report also said that infiltrating 10 Android devices would cost an agency $650,000 and the same cost would apply for 10 iPhone gadgets. Getting into Blackberry devices would cost an agency $500,000 and $300,000 for Symbian users.

According to the report, extra targets would increase the cost further. Moreover, the company also charged an annual maintenance fee of 17 per cent of the total price.

This comes with the caveat that the price list mentioned is for the previous generation of Pegasus and current versions with greater features and even zero-click capabilities may cost more. Zero-click hacks are those that allow spyware to enter a device without the user having to do anything.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published 31 July 2021, 06:03 IST

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