WikiLeaks releases weaponised malware as government test

Whistleblowing organisation hits out at German government for not blocking developers from downloading the software


WikiLeaks has revealed it used weaponised malware FinFisher to reveal which governments were snooping on their residents and to improve detection systems to protect people's PCs and mobiles.

The whistleblowing organisation said releasing the files would also allow researchers to discover abuses of human rights in countries using the FinFisher software.

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WikiLeaks also revealed information about FinFisher's customers that include law enforcement and government agencies in nations around the world.

The site said the company has clients in Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa and Vietnam.

WikiLeaks believes the use of the software allows many of these countries to abuse human rights by snooping on residents.

The organisation particularly targeted the German government, who WikiLeaks said should stop FinFisher from selling the software to countries with bad human rights records.

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks' editor in chief, said: "FinFisher continues to operate brazenly from Germany selling weaponised surveillance malware to some of the most abusive regimes in the world. The Merkel government pretends to be concerned about privacy, but its actions speak otherwise."

The malware, which can target Apple OS X, Windows and Linux computers as well as Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Phone devices, was made available to download from the WikiLeaks website.

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The files were obtained by a hacker going by the name Phineas Fisher in August and can be used to take data from PCs and spy on emails, phone calls and other data going to and from infected devices.

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