The Pegasus hacking scandal has shaken the tech world with several high-profile names being targeted. Phones of politicians, journalists, activists have been targeted through Israeli-based company NSO’s surveillance software Pegasus. Since phones are the heart of the hacking, Apple and Google are facing a lot of heat for not making secure enough software. Training his guns at the two tech giants is none other than CEO of Telegram.
Pavel Durov, founder of the instant messaging app, said that both Google and Apple have left backdoors open in their systems for such attacks to take place. In a post on Telegram’s Durov channel, he said, “According to the Snowden revelations from 2013, both Apple and Google are part of the global surveillance program that implies that these companies have to, among other things, implement backdoors into their mobile operating systems. These backdoors, usually disguised as security bugs, allow US agencies to access information on any smartphone in the world.”
He further explained, “The problem with such backdoors is that they are never exclusive to just one party. Anybody can exploit them. So if a US security agency can hack an iOS or Android phone, any other organisation that uncovers these backdoors can do the same.”Exactly what, according to Durov, NSO did with Pegasus.
Durov said that for a while now he has been asking governments to act against Apple and Google. “That’s why I have been calling upon the governments of the world to start acting against the Apple-Google duopoly in the smartphone market and to force them to open their closed ecosystems and allow for more competition.”
This isn’t the first instance that Durov has come out and spoken against Apple. In May, when it was reported that Apple had different ‘rules’ for China, Durov said that “owning an iPhone makes you a digital slave of Apple – you are only allowed to use apps that Apple lets you install via their App Store, and you can only use Apple’s iCloud to natively back up your data.”
He linked Apple’s “totalitarian approach” to something that China adopts. “It’s no wonder that Apple’s totalitarian approach is so appreciated by the Communist Party of China, which – thanks to Apple – now has complete control over the apps and data of all its citizens who rely on iPhones.”