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For journalists, danger lurking in your e-mail

(CPJ/IFEX) - 27 July 2012 - The following is a CPJ blog post:

By Danny O'Brien/CPJ Internet Advocacy Coordinator

This week, Morgan Marquis-Boire and Bill Marczak of the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab provided a disturbing look into the likely use of a commercial surveillance program, FinFisher, to remotely invade and control the computers of Bahraini activists. After the software installs itself onto unsuspecting users' computer, it can record and relay emails, screenshots, and Skype audio conversations. It was deployed against Bahraini users after being concealed in seemingly innocent emails.

In one example decoded by Marquis-Bore's team, the message was crafted to appear to be from Melissa Chan, a journalist working for Al-Jazeera English. The attackers were using Chan's reputation as a journalist to trick their victims into opening the document.

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