Egyptian government linked to phishing attacks on journalists and lawyers

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One of the world’s biggest cybersecurity firms, Check Point Software Technologies, has published disturbing revelations about the recent slew of cyberattacks on several Egyptian journalists, lawyers, opposition politicians, and human rights activists. According to the investigation by Checkpoint, it was revealed that these several cyber attacks were traced back to the Egyptian government.

It was revealed that 33 Egyptians living all across the world were targeted by the attackers. Two out of these 33 Egyptians had recently been arrested as a part of the Egyptian government’s efforts to subdue anti-government protests.

According to the cybersecurity firm, the attackers had installed malicious software on victims’ smartphones through mobile apps that allowed them to track their location, whereabouts, and emails.

It was further established that the cyber attackers employed a plethora of applications to lure individuals for obtaining details such as passwords, location data, and more. For instance, applications such as iLoud200% (an app that promises to double the volume of a smartphone) and IndexY (caller identification app, much like the Truecaller) were used by attackers to obtain GPS location, call history, and more.

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It is to be noted that apps such as IndexY were hosted on Google Play Store, meaning that the application was built with enough sophistication to bypass Google’s safety checks before being published on the Play Store.

Upon investigation, Check Point traced that the server used for the aforementioned cyber attacks was registered under the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. Moreover, the geographical coordinates found in one of the dubious apps was linked to the headquarters of the General Intelligence Directorate, Egypt’s intelligence bureau.

While it isn’t uncommon to witness the Egyptian government locking down several outspoken critics, opposition politicians, and activists, the latest incident has been the second time the country’s government is under suspicion for ordering a cyberattack.

Earlier this year, it was found that the Egyptian government may have been involved in creating fake social media accounts to build support for Sudan’s military. The company running the fake account operation had direct links to the Egyptian government.

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Naga Pramod

Naga Pramod is a computer science major and tech news reporter with a passion for cyber security, networking, and data science. [email protected]