Syria Uses Skype Malware to Spy on Activists: Tech Firm
Impersonators send infected files
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2012 4:54 PM CDT
Syrians demonstrating in Homs.   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – The Syrian government is hacking into the computers of activists and secretly surveilling them by spreading malicious software through Skype, reports TechWeek Europe. Recently, an activist thought she was Skype-chatting with an ally, but she suddenly realized her friend was in jail and could not possibly be online. She received a file from the impersonator that was later identified as malware capable of spying on and controlling her computer remotely. The malware had an IP address that belonged to a company that reports to the government.

“If someone would have told me 10 years ago that by 2012 it will be commonplace for governments to create backdoors and Trojans and use them to spy both on their own people and other countries, (and to) create software that would target nuclear programs of other countries, I wouldn’t have believed it," says a research officer with the security company F-Secure, which discovered the recent Syrian ploy. "It sounds like science fiction, but it’s exactly what we are seeing at the moment.”