Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Enemy Knows

Arab Spring [LP]
Arab Spring [LP] (Photo credit: Painted Tapes)
How Pro-Regime Forces Use Spyware to Target Arab Spring RebelsHow Pro-Regime Forces Use Spyware to Target Arab Spring Rebels
pro-regime forces have been using fake messages to install malware on activists’ computers that would allow them to monitor keystrokes and other activity .... “off the shelf” surveillance products for governments and law enforcement .... Fin Fisher could be installed by “sending fake software updates for popular software.” ..... “Compromised Skype accounts of trusted friends is very popular,” he said, as activists have looked to the Internet telephony service because they don’t trust the state phone systems. ..... “It pays to be especially cautious when downloading files over the Internet, even from links that are purportedly sent by friends”
It is not surprising that the authoritarian regimes would get sophisticated in their use of information technology. After all they have much resources at their disposal. But this just adds to the sort of training the pro liberation forces should subject themselves to. Easier said than done. In countries like the US that are more literate, it is hard to get people to not click on suspicious links.

The regimes use way more sophisticated stuff than this one. Surveillance tools at the disposal of the Chinese authorities, for example, have been manufactured by some of the biggest names in tech.

Just like companies used to be barred from doing business with the apartheid regime in South Africa, tech companies ought to be barred from selling stuff to authoritarian regimes that get used to suppress dissent.
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