Have you got FinFisher on Your Server or Smartphone?

I have never understood why spyware which installs upon your computer and spies on you is called “Trojans”. The inhabitants of Troy suffered when they brought a wooden horse built by the Greeks into their walled city, which had concealed within it enough Greeks to destroy the city of Troy. The Trojans were the victims and the wooden horse was the device of their destruction. Spyware should be named after the wooden horse, not after those who suffered the results of the device, but that is just one of the ignorances of humanity that subsist in the information technology sector.

There is a company called Gamma International which is based in the British Virgin Islands, no doubt for entirely proper logistical reasons. Gamma International produces software called FinFisher. You cannot buy FinFisher in a shop or online unless you are a government. It probably matters not what kind of government you are – presumably you could govern a repressive undemocratic state, like Mr Mubarak did in Egypt until he was deposed – and whatever kind of government you are you might want to buy FinFisher and use it. According to Wikileaks, Mr Mubarak’s government paid US $350,000 for FinFisher. You would not use FinFisher on your own servers, because FinFisher is spyware. It can remotely monitor a computer or smart phone, record the user’s conversations, traffic, electronic correspondence, passwords and so forth and send this information to the host government that bought FinFisher.

There are many nations that use FinFisher at the last count. Its use can be tracked and this spyware has been found on servers in the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia, Pakistan, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary, Austria, Mongolia, India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt, Panama, Indonesia, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, FYR Macedonia, Singapore, Vietnam, Czech Republic, Malaysia and Japan.

For governments, tools like FinFisher are more reliable and less expensive than maintaining an intelligence network like the CIA, or the KBG or the Staatssicherheit, that operated in East Germany, at the time it called itself the German Democratic Republic.

In democratic nations, like the USA and the UK, there are laws which prevent the use of things like telephone intercepts without a specific authority from a court. These laws probably also apply to spyware like FinFisher, so we have to ask why this spyware is found on software in democratic free nations. Those interested in preserving their personal freedom or even merely their trade secrets should be worried, very worried, if the government that they elected to serve them, buys FinFisher.

2 Responses

  1. For sale here in the UK marketed by the Home Office and UKTI http://www.securityandpolicing.co.uk/

    • No doubt available to every tyrant you has the badge of government.

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