Mozilla is taking legal action against a spyware firm accused of spoofing its brand in order to dupe users.
The company said that it has filed a cease and desist order against Gamma International, makers of the FinFisher monitoring tool, on charges of trademark infringement.
Mozilla said that users operating FinFisher spyware networks have been looking to infect users with the monitoring tool by disguising it as part of the Firefox browser package. The company claims that the FinFisher spyware tool has been disguising itself on infected systems as 'firefox.exe' and has borrowed code from Firefox in order to conceal itself.
"As an open source project trusted by hundreds of millions of people around the world, defending Mozilla’s trademarks from this type of abuse is vital to our brand, our users and the continued success of our mission," said Mozilla head of privacy and public policy Alex Fowler.
"We cannot abide a software company using our name to disguise online surveillance tools that can be – and in several cases actually have been– used by Gamma’s customers to violate citizens’ human rights and online privacy."
Designed as a monitoring tool for law enforcement and intelligence agencies, FinFisher bills itself as an 'IT Intrusion' utility. Privacy advocates, however, claim that FinFisher is a de facto spyware tool and is widely used to eavesdrop on user and violate the civil rights of civilians around the world.
Human Rights group Citizen Lab claims that FinFisher monitoring networks have spread to as many as 36 countries. The tool is causing headaches for the UK government as the the HMRC faces a legal challenge from Privacy International for allowing its sales overseas.
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