Political Malware Operations

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TITLE Let's talk about political malware operations
DAY: Day1 - h19
NEEDS: projector
LANGUAGE: English or French

Malware have been around for quite a bit of time now, and we have proof that they have been used to target journalists and activists for at least 10 years.

This sessions aims at creating a discussion with everyone about the political aspect of these operations. Some first ideas and references to start the discussion :

  • Different countries have taken different approaches, big players like China, Russia, France or the US are developing their tools and training their own people, some states are relying on free or commercial RATs, but some others have started bying malware and tools from Western commercial companies like Hacking Team, Gamma Group or NSO Group
  • In this context, we should note that these companies (Hacking Team, NSO etc.) are based either in the US, Europe or Israel and mostly funded by Western investors while their customers are mostly middle-East, African, South-America or Asian countries. How does this fit into a colonialist view of technology ?
  • In Europe and more specifically in France, surveillance has increased largely due to surveillance laws passed after the terrorist attacks. In a context of very hard political discussions about terrorism, it is common to see digital right groups and leftist people recommend developing malware utilization by the police to fight against massive surveillance. Is this really the right strategy ?
  • Trump is supported by small techie groups manipulating memes and having a strong online presence. In the post-Trump anti-fascist protests, we have seen these groups and other fascists groups targeting antifa online or helping the police in different ways. In this context, many French antifascist groups received a weird email by a so called antifascist group from Philadelphia last November with a malware attached. Are malware part of the toolkit of the growing far-right movement in the US ?

Some interesting readings :