Spyware targets dissidents in Syria, Iran

Article By Olivia Ward; Published On Wed May 30 2012

While dissidents in Iran and Syria risk their lives to struggle against their governments, a silent but possibly deadly battle is being waged in cyberspace.

University of Toronto’s spy-busting Citizen Lab has raised the alarm on a new tool that is used against opposition sympathizers who try to secretly bypass government censorship. The privacy-invading Trojan horse program can allow vital data from the victim’s computer to be stolen by political foes or criminals, with potentially dangerous consequences.

“This was such an extraordinary case that we felt it was necessary to issue an urgent alert,” said Ron Deibert, who heads the internationally staffed lab, based at the Munk School of Global Affairs. “Malignant versions of the software were being downloaded from file-sharing forms and were putting people at considerable risk.”

In Syria, Deibert said, President Bashar Assad’s regime opened up its social media sites after year-long protests began, apparently to help track down its opponents. In Iran, the Revolutionary Guard created a cyber police division to apprehend suspected dissidents… Continue reading the full article at theStar.ca here.