In the United States, the discussion on the issue of national security continues to dominate. We’re talking about computer security of course, given that the stars and stripes borders don’t seem in the least bit in danger. After the ban on TikTok – and that story seems decidedly far from its conclusion – the Biden government signed an order banning the use of the commercial spyware throughout the United States. According to various intelligence reports, spyware has been used by foreign cyber criminals to carry out attacks against citizens from all over the world.
But what exactly is commercial spyware? Well, as you can easily guess from the name, it’s spyware: malicious software capable of spying on its victims, collecting personal data and information about all the activities that take place on the infected device. It is defined as commercial because, in general, this specific type of malware is used for marketing purposes. Needless to point out that any spyware installed without the consent of the device owner is illegal.
Commercial spyware used to spy on the American population
USA Today reports that at least 50 state employees in 10 different states have been spied on using this type of spyware. The Stars and Stripes government believes that foreign forces are behind these attacks. Not only. The White House says “foreign governments around the world have used this technology to facilitate repression and enable human rights abuses, intimidate political opponents, curb dissent, curb freedom of expression, and spy on and target political activists and journalists” (via USA Today)