Kozhikode: What does Israeli-made Pegasus spyware and Kerala's town Koyilandy in Kozhikode district have to do with each other? Nothing, except that a learning app of a Koyilandy-based PSC coaching centre by the same name has now attracted huge number of downloads, thanks to the instant (dis)repute of the Israeli snooping software.
The coaching centre is named Pegasus, a name that has now misled hundreds of espionage-curious net surfers to download its app 'Pegasus Online'. The app was launched in Google Playstore at the beginning of Covid curbs, when the centre could not offer physical sessions due to lockdown restriction. From its launch till last week, it had enjoyed around a thousand downloads. In last April the app was updated. The Playstore intro does clearly mention that it is a training app for Public Service Commission tests and similalr competitive exams. In the review section too, users who have downloaded it do refer to that.
But come news of Israel spyware Pegasus that it was used for hacking the mobile phones of many prominent users, things changed dramatically. Within a few days the download number has crossed 2,000, says the owner of Pegasus. But regardless of its true identity, downloads have been happening from every nook and corner of the country. Not only downloads, even phone calls have been inundating the office of Pegasus in Koyilandy, with most questions being raised in Hindi and Tamil. The primary curiosity is how to run the app, obviously driven by anything from curiosity to spying ambitions.
But staff in Pegasus have a tough time convincing callers that it is a far cry from what the new Pegasus is known for, and that it is a competitive test app - an answer that hardly satisfies most enquiries. Once the fact is drilled home, they are deeply disappoionted. Nothing surprising, as some calls ring even at midnight, say the centre personnel. And enquiries don't suffer from much of gender disparity: there are many women callers too.