Posted on 14th Dec 2011 @ 10:56 AM
Wikileaks, a whistle-blowing website that exposes secrets on almost every level, has shone the spotlight on a company that allows hackers to completely control a person’s computer, granting them access to all kinds of personal information. And they do this by manipulating one of our most trusted computer programs: Apple iTunes.
Wikileakes released over 200 files containing evidence about this brand of hacking, nicknamed Spy Files. As part of the Spy Files, Wikileaks posted a link on Twitter which showed a short video demonstration on the hacking in action, provided by Gamma Group, an intelligence coalition.
The video shows how a product named 'FinFly ISP' is installed into the servers of an internet service provider (ISP); the bug then send a fake software update notification to a user's iTunes application.
Installing the fake update allows surveillance workers to have "full control of the target system". Everyone who has iTunes is no stranger to this pop-up asking you to update your software. “A new version of iTunes is available (Version X.X.X). Would you like to update your iTunes?”
The video one-minute video is a full demonstration of how the hacking works. In it, a police 'agent' installs the device into an ISP; the device automatically begins the installation of FinFly, the hacking software disguised as an iTunes software update. Once the hacking program has completed installation, the hacker can see anything and everything the target is doing on his or her computer.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is strongly against this kind of hacking. That is why she had Wikileaks release all of the information concerning FinFly in an attempt to raise public awareness about the dangers of this kind of hacking. It is important that everyone is made of aware of the potential harm that a hacking on this level could do. Someone could easily steal all of your personal and private information, even your financial information. There’s no limit on the damage that can be done.
In a conference at City University, London last week, Assange revealed the Spy Files to a gathering of journalists and students. During the talk he said that users of iPhone, BlackBerrys and Gmail are "screwed" because companies are apparently recording all conversations, messages and data sent and received from these devices and given to governments.
Simon Davies, founder of Privacy International, told the International Business Times UK that the release of documents by Wikileaks is just the first step in an attempt to make governments introduce stricter and more publicly-known regulation governing surveillance companies.
The former journalists made headlines earlier this week after he won the right to have his appeal against extradition to Sweden taken to the Supreme Court; Assange is wanted by Swedish authorities after two former Wikileaks volunteers made accusations of rape and sexual assault against him.
On Wednesday the Wikileaks Twitter account announced that Assange's Supreme Court hearing had been "rushed forward" and will be heard on December 19.
Wikileaks claims that at least 160 companies are involved in manufacturing and supplying mass surveillance equipment to governments in 30 countries; companies named by Wikileaks include Nokia Siemens Network, NICE Systems and Siemens.
With threats like these, it is important that you know to whom you can turn for the best TSCM services to keep yourself safe and secure.