Monday, 28 May 2018

Pakistan activists targeted in FB attacks

Sofian Khan: A discreet human rights activist from Lahore in Pakistan, Diep Saeeda, received a short message on her Facebook from an unknown ID with whom she had a number of friends in mutual: “Hy dear.” She instantly did not think anything about it and never even responded. Apparently, the ID did not  belong to a fan of Saeeda’s activism. It was rather from a group who were on the verge of starting a sustained campaign of digital attacks. The text was intended to install malware on her computer and mobile phone to spy on her and steal her data.
Over the next year, a multiple messages landed on her account from the same account which apparently was run by a young woman calling herself Sana Halimi, claiming to work for the United Nations.
When Saeeda opened the conversation thread, following some replies, purportedly was attached with some document which might be the key to “understand” what had happened some other disappeared human rights activists.
This crucial mistake allowed researchers from human rights group Amnesty International to trace a number of individuals linked either to the operation or to the malware used. They include a British-Pakistani cyber security expert running a company he claims to be based in Wales, and another who used to work for the Pakistani army’s public relations wing.
Mrs Saeeda is clear whom she believes is ultimately responsible for the attacks: “I’m convinced these are intelligence agencies. They try to harass people and force them to leave the country.” “There was a time they would visit my home or office on a daily basis. When I get up in the morning, there would be two people outside my home.”

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