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Analysis of Lebanon’s recently discovered state-sponsored hacking


If Edward Snowden has taught anything to the world, governments now can pry into their personal and political affairs with relative ease, and Lebanon is no exception. The report, compiled by the cyber security company Lookout Inc. and the digital rights NGO of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, suggests that the Lebanese government is, at least, complicit in a flagrant cyber espionage campaign, undertaken by a group of operators under the banner of Dark Caracal, whose operators were stationed inside the building of the General Directorate of General Security (GDGS) owned by the government. The GDGS building is home to one of the country’s intelligence agencies and according to researchers the first attacks took place in January 2012, when Dark Caracal launched a first mobile surveillance campaign. According to the report by Lookout Inc. and EFF, Dark Caracal was able to create its own network acquiring a deep knowledge of each of the victims, including members of the army, government officials, doctors, academics, civilians belonging to financial institutions, manufacturing companies and defense contractors. It is always difficult to give the government the benefit of the doubt about home surveillance, but skepticism increases further if you look at the Lebanon law on interception, data collection and the illegal obtaining of sensitive information. This indiscriminate spying on the communications of citizens, without any conviction or cause, on behalf of the GDGS is in violation of the Lebanese law, and in particular the fundamental protections guaranteed by the law n.140 of 1999. Article 1 of the law, in fact, prohibits clearly gathering information or monitoring communications of any kind, except in specific cases.

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