NOVEMBER 21, 2011, 6:35 PM ET
Surveillance Company Says It Sent Fake iTunes, Flash Updates
By Jennifer Valentino-DeVries
Gamma International UK Ltd. touts its ability to send a “fake iTunes update” that can infect computers with surveillance software, according to one of the company’s marketing videos.
The Wall Street Journal unveiled on Saturday the “Surveillance Catalog” – an online database containing highlights from surveillance industry marketing documents. The documents show dozens of companies making and selling everything from “massive intercept” gear that can gather all Internet communications in a country to “hacking” tools that allow governments to break into people’s computers.
Gamma was one of three companies marketing their skill at the kind of techniques usually used in “black hat hacking,” the type of intrusion used by criminals trying to steal people’s financial details.
All of the hacking companies say they sell their tools to law enforcement and governments to help them track down criminals. People in this new industry say their tools are necessary because terrorists and criminals are communicating online and hiding behind encryption and other techniques.
Perhaps the most extensive marketing materials came from Gamma’s FinFisher brand, which says it works by “sending fake software updates for popular software,” from Apple, Adobe and others. The FinFisher documentation included brochures in several languages, as well as videos touting the tools.
This is but one of thousands of entities spying on you with impunity. Be aware. Protect yourself!