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NGOs of Egypt Face Extensive Phishing Attacks


The Netizen Report offers international snapshot of the victories, challenges, and rising trends in internet rights throughout the world. It initially appeared on the Global Voices Advocacy every week. Marianne Diaz, Alef Abrougui, Sarah Myers West, and Ellery Roberts Biddle have contributed to the report.


Researchers of Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab revealed a chain of minimum 92 phishing attempts that are targeting digital communications as well as data of human rights activists, lawyers, and defenders, who are associated with 7 well-known non-governmental organizations in the Egypt. These attacks used the social engineering because attackers successfully impersonated either as the colleagues and confidants of NGO workers or as the technology companies looking for account verification.


EIPR, Nazra for Feminist Studies, and the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression were among those targeted. For instance, just hours following the arrest of Azza Soliman, lawyer of women's rights, from her home; Azza's colleagues have received a message claiming to share Dropbox file with them, which contains the arrest warrant. Future tense posted on February 3rd, 2017, stating that this message actually led to malicious software program, which sought to penetrate into their devices.


In the other cases, workers of NGO received messages about account authentication from email addresses that looked official, but actually were malicious. The report comprises a complete list of dangerous domain names along with email addresses that were found in the study, almost each of them mimic names of legitimate services, like Dropbox and Gmail.


These attacks are no surprises for advocates of Egyptian civil society and their associates. They seem to target the defendants in so-called "foreign funding" Case 173, which Government of Egypt filed against many workers of NGO in 2011, charging that workers used the foreign grant money for performing the works which undermined government. In spite of many changes in the ruling government of Egypt, the case has worn on. Courts have banned travel and freeze the assets of multiple defendants of the case along with various other leaders of NGO since spring 2016, which has strictly limited their ability to work or even look for shelter outside the country.

» SPAMfighter News - 09-02-2017

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