WikiLeaks: Australian Police Use ‘Weaponized Spyware’ To Remotely Access, Search Computers

Police in the Australian state of New South Wales are on the list of customers who have purchased licenses to use FinFisher, a suite of malware programs that allows users to remotely access other computers’ data, and even remotely operate their webcams and microphones, according to new leaks posted today by WikiLeaks.

Described as “weaponized surveillance malware” by RIA Novosti, FinFisher is sold legally out of Germany, despite the fact that it is described as “intrusion software” and can be used to steal data from computers. Jullian Assange himself describes the German government’s blind eye toward FinFisher.

“FinFisher continues to operate brazenly from Germany selling weaponized surveillance malware to some of the most abusive regimes in the world. This full data release will help the technical community build tools to protect people from FinFisher including by tracking down its command and control centers.”

Besides its use in Australia, FinFisher is also used by police in the Netherlands, as well as the governments of Hungary, Qatar, Italy, and Bosnia, according to ZDNet. It’s also used to monitor journalists and suppress free speech in places such as Nigeria, Pakistan, and Mongolia, according to SBS.

As proof of the New South Wales police department’s use of FinFisher, WikiLeaks offers a transcript of a conversation between a New South Wales police employee and FinFisher customer service (such a conversation is called a “ticket.”).

“When a mac target is online, there is a configuration link which allows updating the configuration of the target and Trojan. However, when the target is offline, there isn’t any configuration link. This only appears on a mac target. Linux and Windows targets have configuration links when the target is both online and offline.”

Under Australian law, police cannot access individual Australians’ telecommunications records without a warrant, according to CNet. Under certain circumstances, however, metadata can be accessed without a warrant.

Assange hopes that the release of this information will allow computer users to develop means of blocking remote spying programs such as FinFisher, according to IT News.

This full data release will help the technical community build tools to protect people from FinFisher, including by tracking down its command and control centres.”

As recently as July, none other than Edward Snowden himself was reported to be working on surveillance-proof internet technology, according to this Inquisitr report.

The leaked files state that the New South Wales police have spent at least $2.5 million to purchase FinFisher licenses.

As of this post, calls to the New South Wales police for comment have not been returned.

[Image courtesy of: Huffington Post]