How governments devise custom "implants" to bug smartphones - Post provides rare glimpse inside Android-based "lawful intercept" app

Posted in: Surveillance & Privacy at 25/06/2014 17:57

On Twitter, it was billed as Qatif Today, a legitimate Android app that provides news and information in Arabic with a focus on the Qatif governorate of Saudi Arabia. But in fact, the shortened link came with a hidden extra -- an advanced trojan wealthy nation states use to spy on criminal suspects and political dissidents.

Citizen Lab, the University of Toronto group that monitors government surveillance in the digital age, analyzed the recently discovered instance of the fake Qatif Today app in a blog post headlined Police Story: Hacking Team's Government Surveillance Malware. The account provides a rare glimpse into malware developed by "Hacking Team," a highly secretive outfit based in Italy that charges governments top dollar for extremely stealthy spyware that's often referred to as a "lawful intercept" program.

Also see:

Governments Use 'Legal' Mobile Malware To Spy On Citizens
New research shows how C&C infrastructure and mobile Trojans are packaged by one firm offering worldwide governments the means to spy on everyday criminals and political targets.

The barriers to entry for government entities large and small across the world to hijack and spy on citizen phones are lowering, according to two research reports released today in conjunction by Kaspersky Lab and Citizen Lab.

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