Tuesday, August 14, 2012

FinSpy Spyware Appears in 10 Countries

It is one of the more elusive commercial cyber-espionage tools available.

It is marketed as a way for governments to spy on criminals and for over a year, virus hunters unsuccessfully tried to track it down.

Now it is popping up across the globe, from Qatar to an Amazon server in the United States.

FinFisher is a spyware product manufactured by the Gamma Group, a British company that sells surveillance technology. It says its spyware offers “world-class offensive techniques for information gathering.”

According to FinFisher’s promotional materials, the spyware can be “used to access target systems, giving full access to stored information with the ability to take control of the target system’s functions to the point of capturing encrypted data and communications.”

Security researchers who studied the spyware last month said it can grab images of users’ computer screens, record their Skype chats, remotely turn on cameras and microphones, and log keystrokes.

The Gamma Group markets FinFisher as a way for government law enforcement and intelligence agencies to keep track of criminals, but the researchers’ findings suggested that it was being used more broadly.

The spyware first attracted attention in March 2011 after protesters in Egypt raided the country’s state security headquarters and found an offer to buy FinFisher for 287,000 euros, or $353,000.

Then in May of this year, pro-democracy Bahraini activists, one in London, another in Washington and one in the Bahraini capital, Manama, started receiving suspicious e-mails, which they passed to a Bloomberg reporter.

Read the full article here: Elusive FinSpy Spyware Pops Up in 10 Countries - NYTimes.com

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