Feeds

UK firm denies supplying spyware to Mubarak's secret police

RATs nest found in Egyptian spook HQ

SANS - Survey on application security programs

A UK tech firm has denied supplying spyware technology to the former Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak.

Documents uncovered when the country's security service headquarters were ransacked during the Arab Spring uprising suggest that Egypt had purchased a package called FinFisher to spy on dissidents.

FinFisher, developed by UK firm Gamma International, is supplied exclusively to law enforcement and intelligence agencies as a surveillance tool. Trojans of this type – known as Remote Access Tools or RATs – are typically used to plant bugs on suspects' PCs to monitor emails and instant-messaging conversations, or intercept Skype calls, as the pitch for FinFisher explains:

The remote monitoring and infection solutions are used to access target systems, giving full access to stored information with the ability to take control of the target systems' functions to the point of capturing encrypted data and communications. In combination with enhanced remote infection methods, the government agency will have the capability to remotely infect target systems.

The recovered documents (pictured here) suggest the tool was licensed for a five-month trial at the back end of last year at a cost of €287,000.

During a BBC's File on 4 programme, broadcast on Tuesday, Gamma International UK denied supplying the software to the Egyptian authorities. It added that it complied with UK export restrictions.

The sales documents in question appear genuine, though it's hard to be absolutely sure especially since Gamma International has yet to respond to our request to discuss the matter. The supply of snooping technology to friendly but repressive regimes is a grey area.

William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, told the BBC he would like to see a ban on the export of goods used for repression, adding that he would "critically" examine export controls.

The File on 4 programme, entitled "Cyber Spies", can be downloaded or streamed here. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.