03 May 2013

Spyware used by governments across the world poses as Firefox

A report by Citizen Lab shows that 36 countries around the world (including Australia) host control servers for ‘FinFisher’ –  a type of surveillance software sold to governments which poses as a Firefox browser. This software allows the government to spy on the user that installs it, as well as find encrypted data and remotely install other software. Mozilla is understandably upset by these revelations, and have sent Gamma International – the company who developed FinFisher – a cease and desist letter yesterday demanding that the violation of trademark stop immediately. Mozilla has a longstanding history of protecting users online, and was even named the Most Trusted Internet Company for Privacy in 2012. Mozilla has made clear that the software does not affect Firefox itself, and that only the brand and trademarks were used to trick people into thinking that the FinFisher software was a product of Mozilla. In particular, the tactic was used in Bahrain targeting democracy activists and in Malaysia to monitor people during the upcoming elections. Gamma International is yet to respond to the cease and desist letter from Mozilla.