Home Malware Programs Backdoors FinSpy


Posted: March 14, 2013

Threat Metric

Threat Level: 8/10
Infected PCs: 20
First Seen: August 3, 2012
OS(es) Affected: Windows

FinSpy is the spyware component of FinFisher, a legal spyware application that supposedly only is marketed to law enforcement agencies and used for the purpose of monitoring criminal activities. However, recent analyses have indicated that FinSpy also is used in more questionable circumstances than the above – such as in monitoring the actions of government protest groups in both Vietnam and Ethiopia. Although FinSpy isn't designed for illegal purposes, malware researchers still consider FinSpy to be malware that should be removed from your PC as long as you place any value in protecting any of the information on your computer. Despite its origins, you still can delete FinSpy with the same anti-malware tools that would be able to thwart illegal types of spyware.

FinSpy: A Fisher for All Sorts of Information

FinSpy, as part of the multiple-component FinFisher, has been involved in a wide range of surveillance operations with justifications for such acts ranging from 'unquestionable' to 'shady.' Besides the most recent incidents involving the Ethiopian protest group Ginbot 7, FinSpy also has been connected to government surveillance efforts in such regimes as Hosni Mubarak's and the town of Bahrain of Pakistan.

To date, malware researchers have found that e-mail messages are the most common infection vector for FinSpy (the component of FinFisher that's installed on vulnerable computers). In most cases, such as recent Ethiopian protester-targeted attacks, these e-mails messages are crafted to look like government protest messages that include additional information in an enclosed file. Opening this file usually opens a real document that distracts the victim from FinSpy's hidden installation.

FinSpy includes the same basic spyware functions that illegal spyware programs are fond of abusing, including keylogging, form-grabbing and other attacks that can target personal data for transfer to remote servers. Although most first-world residents (with the notable exception of Canadians) aren't in danger of being targeted by FinSpy's current attacks, SpywareRemove.com malware experts warn that residents of the following countries should take heed:

  • Bangladesh
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • India
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Pakistan
  • Serbia
  • Vietnam

How to Pry a FinSpy from Your Hard Drive

While its origins are different from that of most kinds of spyware, FinSpy still can be deleted by the same basic methods that would detect any other malware on your computer. Anti-malware software of any competency should be able to find and remove FinSpy. As long as you scan your PC as quickly as possible after any potential infection, you shouldn't suffer meaningful data leaks from FinSpy's attacks. FinSpy also has been confirmed to have a mobile phone variant. However, removal methods remain the same as always.

However, in the case of FinSpy, in particular, SpywareRemove.com malware researchers emphasize that you should use anti-malware programs with updated databases. FinSpy is an ongoing development project that receives regular updates, and outdated software may be unable to find or remove FinSpy.

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