WhatsApp Pegasus Spyware Sees 80% Drop In Downloads In India


WhatsApp Pegasus spyware has wreaked havoc for the popular messaging platform. However, new reports show that the number of downloads for WhatsApp has dropped 80 percent. At the same time, people are switching to other messaging platforms like Signal and Telegram, which also offer end-to-end encryption.

WhatsApp Pegasus Spyware Downloads Drop Drastically


WhatsApp Pegasus Spyware Issue

WhatsApp recently revealed that it was suing Israel-based NSO Group for developing the Pegasus spyware. The spyware was used to target thousands of people, including civil rights activists, journalists, lawyers, and more. Many Pegasus spyware cases were found in India also.

According to a mobile analytics firm, Sensor Tower, WhatsApp downloads have dropped 80 percent ever since the news broke out. Sensor Tower notes that the week before the WhatsApp-NSO Group issue, there were 8.9 million WhatsApp downloads. A week after that (October 26 and November 3), there was a drastic drop to 1.8 million downloads only.

Telegram, Signal See Spike In Downloads

WhatsApp Pegasus Spyware Downloads Drop Drastically

At the same time, people are shifting to other messaging platforms. The Sensor Tower data shows that Signal, another messaging platform that also offers end-to-end encrypted messaging, witnessed a 63 percent rise with 9,600 downloads in a single day in India alone. Telegram downloads have also increased by 10 percent, with 920,000 total downloads.

The data presented here represent unique downloads, says the analytics firm. The downloads are calculated as "one download per Apple ID or Google account, not including re-installs, installs to multiple devices owned by the same account, or app updates," Sensor Tower said to the Business Standard.


WhatsApp Pegasus Spyware Security Compromise

WhatsApp states that the Pegasus spyware was designed to intercept communications sent to and from a device. Apart from WhatsApp, other messaging platforms like iMessage, Skype, WeChat, and others were also compromised. However, with WhatsApp, the Pegasus spyware exploited a particular loophole in the video calling feature.

The Indian government has reached out to the Reserve Bank of India and the National Payments Corporation over the WhatsApp Pegasus spyware issue. The government fears the payments made through such platforms pose a huge risk. The issue may further delay the launch of the WhatsApp Pay feature in the country.

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