FinFisher is a notorious surveillance software that is routinely used by repressive regimes around the world to keep an eye on dissidents and activists. It has been discovered that the company behind the software, Gamma International, installs FinFisher on victim computers by associating it with popular programs such as Firefox.
This rather shocking revelation has been made by The Citizen Lab research group at University of Toronto. Apparently, Gamma International routinely markets its software as an update to Firefox, so that users are fooled into installing it without knowing that they are falling victim to a sophisticated spy technology.
This problem is compounded by the fact that in the past, Gamma International has tried to sell FinFisher to dictatorial and oppressive regimes around the globe. During the Egyptian movement which eventually uprooted Hosni Mubarik, Gamma International made a direct offer to Mubarak’s regime, citing that the software can effectively keep tabs on activists.
Mozilla has registered a rather severe reaction to the whole situation. The Mozilla Foundation has sent a cease and desist letter to Gamma International, warning that if the company continues camouflaging its notorious software under Firefox’s name, Mozilla will take action.
Mozilla’s chief privacy officer Alex Fowler also issued an official statement which read, “Our brand and trademarks are used by the spyware as a method to avoid detection and deletion. As an open source project trusted by hundreds of millions of people around the world, defending Mozilla’s trademarks from this abuse is vital to our brand, mission and continued success.”