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News Link • Hacking, Cyber Security

How governments devise custom "implants" to bug smartphones

• arstechnica.com

On Twitter, it was billed as Qatif Today, a legitimate Android app that provides news and information in Arabic with a focus on the Qatif governorate of Saudi Arabia. But in fact, the shortened link came with a hidden extra—an advanced trojan wealthy nation states use to spy on criminal suspects and political dissidents.

Citizen Lab, the University of Toronto group that monitors government surveillance in the digital age, analyzed the recently discovered instance of the fake Qatif Today app in a blog post headlined Police Story: Hacking Team's Government Surveillance Malware. The account provides a rare glimpse into malware developed by "Hacking Team," a highly secretive outfit based in Italy that charges governments top dollar for extremely stealthy spyware that's often referred to as a "lawful intercept" program.

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