Mozilla Firefox Considers Blocking Cyber security Company Darkmatter; Reports Arise of Its Link to a Cyber Espionage Program




Firefox 'browser-maker' Mozilla is under talks about considering whether to block the cyber security organization DarkMatter from serving in as one of its internet security gatekeeper after a Reuters report connected the UAE-based firm to a cyber-espionage program.

The international news organization announced in January that the cyber-security company gave the staff the secret to a hacking operation with the codename Project Raven, on behalf of an Emirati intelligence agency. The unit there included previous U.S. intelligence officials who led hostile cyber operations for the UAE government.

The shrouded program, which operated from a converted Abu Dhabi house far from DarkMatter's headquarters, included hacking into the internet accounts of human rights activists, journalists and officials from rival governments.

Mozilla said the company is under talks to arrive at a decision on whether to deny the authority possessed by DarkMatter, however expects to decide within weeks. While two Mozilla officials said in a meeting a week ago that Reuters' report raised their worries about whether DarkMatter would abuse their position to certify sites as safe or not.

Selena Deckelmann, a senior director of engineering for Mozilla, said "We don't currently have technical evidence of misuse (by DarkMatter) but the reporting is strong evidence that misuse is likely to occur in the future if it hasn't already."

Likewise informing that Mozilla was thinking about stripping a few or the majority of the 400 certifications that DarkMatter has granted to sites under a limited authority since 2017.

In any case DarkMatter CEO Karim Sabbagh denied the Reuters report connecting his company in any way to Project Raven."We have never, nor will we ever, operate or manage non-defensive cyber activities against any nationality," he said in a letter to Mozilla on February 25th, posted online by the cyber security company.

While in the past Mozilla has depended heavily on technical issues when choosing whether to trust a company with certification authority or not, the Reuters investigation has driven it to re-evaluate its arrangement for affirming candidates.

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