They cite a new report from cybersecurity firm Sentinel One “illuminating the way in which its digital dirty tricks have been used to surveil and target “human rights activists, human rights defenders, academics, and lawyers” throughout India.
The most prominent case involving Elephant centers around Maoist activist Rona Wilson and a group of his associates who, in 2018, were arrested by India security services and accused of plotting to overthrow the government. Evidence for the supposed plot — including a word document detailing plans to assassinate the nation’s prime minister, Narendra Modi — was found on the Wilson’s laptop. However, later forensic analysis of the device showed that the documents were actually fake and had been artificially planted using malware. According to Sentinel researchers, it was Elephant that put them there.
This case, which gained greater exposure after being covered by the Washington Post, was blown open after the aforementioned laptop was analyzed by a digital forensics firm, Boston-based Arsenal Consulting. Arsenal ultimately concluded that Wilson and all of his so-called co-conspirators, as well as many other activists, had been targeted with digital manipulation….
According to the Sentinel One’s report, Elephant uses common hacking tools and techniques to gain a foothold in victims’ computers. Phishing emails, typically tailored to the victim’s interests, are loaded with malicious documents that contain commercially available remote access tools (RATs) — easy-to-use programs available on the dark web that can hijack computers….
An entirely different group is believed to have conducted similar operations against Baris Pehlivan, a journalist in Turkey who was incarcerated for 19 months in 2016 after the Turkish government accused him of terrorism. Digital forensics later revealed that the documents used to justify Pehlivan’s charges had been artificially implanted, much like those on Wilson’s laptop.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.