Malware and spies

A few years ago I worked as an adviser to Georgian opposition politicians.

English: Irakli Alasania, Permanent Representa...
English: Irakli Alasania, Permanent Representative of Georgia in the United Nations. “On Wednesday, March 14, 2007 a special reception was held at CEC ArtsLink, (New York, NY) in honor of Ambassador Irakli Alasania, Permanent Representative of Georgia in the United Nations.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some were good people – I am particularly pleased to see Irakli Alasania take a place in the new Georgian government and hope his career goes further. Others were not so good.

But they had several things in common – principally that they were desperately short of money: the government of the time made sure any business or other figure who funded them was subject to economic (or even physical) attack, and secondly they knew that the government were more than willing to use the standard spy techniques of bugging and paid agents in an attempt to discredit them (one even showed me the hole in her wall where the bug was planted – see about 6’45” in the video)

One thing that they didn’t fear, though, was that their electronic communications were being tapped – the general view being that the state security services were simply not sophisticated enough to organise that.

Well, it seems that they may have been wrong: following a typically dirty and vicious election campaign (which the previous government lost) several senior figures have now been charged with using malware to take control of opposition politicians’ computers as a way of building up evidence against them.

(The election campaign came to life when the opposition released video of prisoners being violently and horrifically sexually abused – in the days that followed the government hurriedly released some counter videos of its own which purported to show opposition politicians contemplating deals with “criminals-in-law” (ie., mafia-type figures) – several of which were fairly crude and obvious disjointed edits.)



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