Spyware hides in fake Firefox

Niamh Lynch

Niamh Lynch

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A recent study by Citizen Labs has identified a spyware program that imitates Firefox to help it sneak onto computers. The software was developed by Gamma International. The Mozilla Foundation has already contacted the company to put an end to these illegal practices.

The spyware is known as FinSpy or Finfisher, and surprisingly (or not) has already been acquired by various governments to carry out clandestine investigations. As a result, FinSpy has servers in 36 countries, among them Canada, the United States, the UK and Japan. But the question on everyone’s lips is how does this malicious Firefox clone work?

In theory, the Gamma-created program uses the Firefox brand to silently make its way onto computers and remain there unnoticed by users. It even imitates the browser’s version number and appears as an inoffensive “firefox.exe” in the task manager’s list of running programs.

After being downloaded, FinFisher can act in various ways. According to Citizen Labs, the program has already been used for against pro-democracy activities in Bahrain.It’s also been used to distribute a document about Malaysian elections and to advertise for Gamma.

The good news is that the spyware doesn’t affect Firefox users – it’s simply taking advantage of a famous (and trusted) brand to remain unnoticed on people’s computers and phones.

Niamh Lynch

Niamh Lynch

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