In an apparent leak, it was discovered that a UK-based company, Gamma Group, has devised a spyware tool that can turn your BlackBerry into a spying tool. The program can secretly turn on a device’s microphone, track its location and monitor e-mails, text messages and voice calls, according to the findings, being published today by the University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs’ Citizen Lab. Researchers used newly discovered malicious software samples to further pull back the curtain on the elusive cyber weapon.
“People are walking around with tools for surveillance in their pockets,” says John Scott-Railton, a doctoral student at the University of California Los Angeles’ Luskin School of Public Affairs who assisted with the research. “These are the tools that can be used to turn on your microphone and turn your phone into a tracking device.”
What is this elusive spyware? It’s apparently apart of the FinFisher product line. FinFisher products can secretly monitor computers, intercepting Skype calls, turning on Web cameras and recording keystrokes. They are marketed by Gamma for law enforcement and government use.
“I can confirm that Gamma supplies a piece of mobile intrusion software — FinSpy Mobile,” Gamma International GmbH Managing Director Martin J. Muench said in an Aug. 28 e-mail. “I certainly don’t intend to discuss how or on what platforms it works. I do not wish to inform criminals of how any of our detection systems are used against them.”
Do you believe your government should be able to use your BlackBerry as a means to track your every move or conversation? What if someone really is constantly looking at you through that front-facing camera. Sounds like Minority Report science fiction, but crazily it’s science fact.