WikiLeaks has dropped another bombshell, this time in the form of software, for those already weary of governments all over the world spying on people, whether they be their citizens for not. It is giving out malware developed by German company FinFisher in the hopes that countermeasures can be developed to give its intended targets, journalists, activists, and political dissidents, a fighting chance.
According to WikiLeaks, FinFisher is a German outfit, formerly part of a UK company, that has been developing malware, particularly intrusion software, that can intercept communications and data from almost all major operating systems, whether they be desktop or mobile. This software is then bought by government intelligence agencies who then particularly target journalists and activists. FinFisher’s name first surfaced in WikiLeak’s 2011 disclosure.
That governments would use such software to spy on people isn’t exactly news, especially after the WikiLeaks and Snowden leaks. What the group found to be worrying, if not despicable, is that the company continues to operate today and from Germany in fact, even after its government’s public position against spying. That FinFisher sells this kind of software to what WikiLeaks describes as the most abusive regimes in the world is also a major source of concern.
This FinFisher malware is being made available as part of the group’s SpyFiles collection, now in its fourth incarnation. The files also include a database of FinFisher’s customers. Quite ironically, that list names Mongolia as one of the largest buyers, with 16 licenses associated with it. The country has just recently been selected as the chair of the Freedom Online Coalition, a group made up of governments trying to work towards protecting basic human rights, which include freedom of expression and online privacy.