Researchers claim ISPs are 'complicit' in latest FinSpy snooping rounds

Dictators' favourite spyware is working at the top, says report

By John Leyden

Posted in Security, 21st September 2017 15:31 GMT

A surveillance campaign utilising a new variant of FinFisher, the infamous spyware also known as FinSpy, has been tracked by security researchers.

Seven countries have been affected, and in two of them, major internet providers have most likely been involved in infecting surveillance targets, according to security researchers at ESET. The suspected involvement of ISPs – if confirmed – would be a first.

ESET is not naming the countries involved ("so as not to put anyone in danger," it said – others have named names) but it is offering details of the mechanism of the attack.

FinFisher is marketed as a law enforcement tool but has a history of turning up in deployments in countries with a poor reputation for human rights. The software offers covert surveillance through keylogging, and exfiltration of files, as well as live surveillance through webcams and microphones.

Detailed infection mechanism of latest FinFisher variants [source: ESET]

As part of the latest attack, when a user is about to download Skype, Whatsapp or VLC Player they are redirected to the attacker's server where they are served up by a trojanised version of the app they were seeking that comes contaminated with FinFisher. Other consumer applications ESET has seen being misused to spread FinFisher include Avast and WinRAR.

"During the course of our investigations, we found a number of indicators that suggest the redirection is happening at the level of a major internet provider's service," said Filip Kafka, the ESET malware analyst who conducted the research. ®

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily


More from The Register

Ohio coder accused of infecting Macs, PCs with webcam, browser spyware for 13 years

Alleged Fruitfly creator faces decades in prison if guilty

Someone is touting a mobile, PC spyware platform called Dark Caracal to governments

Hundreds of gigabytes already slurped, say EFF and Lookout

Microsoft emergency update: Malware Engine needs, erm, malware protection

Stop appreciating the irony and go install the patch now

Callisto Group snoopers wreak havoc with leaked HackingTeam spyware

Surveillance firm's toolset goes rogue in hands of cyberspooks

Inside the ongoing fight to stamp out govt-grade Android spyware

Black Hat Chrysaor, Lipizzan are state surveillance tools, not Pokemon, surprisingly

Oh, ambassador! You literally are spoiling us: Super-stealthy spyware hits Euro embassy PCs

Gazer opens Windows onto diplomatic secrets

Germany slaps ban on kids' smartwatches for being 'secret spyware'

Hands up, whose parents are listening in on this class?

Crumbs! Crunchyroll distributed malware for a couple of hours

Anime-streamer is fine again, and disinfection is easy

Kaspersky: Clumsy NSA leak snoop's PC was packed with malware

Lab suspects Chinese spyware was on home computer

Another month, another malware outbreak in Google's Play Store

50 apps get pulled as ExpensiveWall malware runs riot in the store