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Allegations of planted evidence raise questions about hacking ecosystem in India / Designs of India’s Surveillance State

Allegations of planted evidence raise questions about hacking ecosystem in India / Designs of India’s Surveillance State

Allegations of planted evidence raise questions about hacking ecosystem in India

19/02/2021

Cyber Scoop / by Shannon Vavra

Recent allegations that planted evidence may have been used to frame an activist in a terrorism case are raising new questions about the surveillance and hacking ecosystem in India.
The human rights activist in question, Rona Wilson, is one of several people accused of plotting to overthrow the Indian government in connection with a violent demonstration in Bhima Koregaon, India in 2017…
While it may be unclear who exactly is responsible for the reportedly manipulated evidence against Wilson at this time, the possible links between pro-India hacking operations and the global commercial sector of surveillance software have begun to emerge in recent research.
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Unprecedented Tampering In Bhima Koregaon Case: Forensic Firm Chief

19/02/2021

Outlook/ by Preetha Nair

Mark Spencer is the president of Arsenal Consulting, a forensic firm that recently released a report that concluded that incriminating evidence was planted on the computer of Bhima-Koregaon accused and activist Rona Wilson.
In an email interview with Outlook, Arsenal Consulting’s President Mark Spencer elaborates on the process involved in analyzing the data and larger issues with regard to the case. Spencer also contests the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) claim of no ‘planted evidence’.
Excerpts from the interview.
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Sinister Designs of India’s Surveillance State

19/02/2021

NewsClick / by Suhit K Sen

How the Bhima Koregaon case has progressed so far gives credence to the claim that malware was planted on activist Rona Wilson’s computer.
On 10 February, Rona Wilson, one of the first batch of activists arrested by the police in the Bhima Koregaon/Elgar Parishad case, filed a petition in the Bombay High Court seeking the dismissal of the case against him. In support, his lawyers provided a forensic report showing that evidence had been planted against him.
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Also read: Prison-rights activist Rona Wilson’s hard disk contained malware that allowed remote access (The Caravan, March 2020)

The Bhima Koregaon Forensic Report: FAQs answered by Prof. Jedidiah Crandall

The Bhima Koregaon Forensic Report: FAQs answered by Prof. Jedidiah Crandall

The Bhima Koregaon Forensic Report: FAQs answered by Prof. Jedidiah Crandall

17/02/2021

… In a statement to The Washington Post the NIA had stated that it had found no malware on Wilson’s computer and other government spokespersons have attempted to label the forensic report as a “distortion.” Media outlets close to the government have attempted to cast aspersions on the report by suggesting that the cloned hard drive was tampered with as it was being transported from India to Boston.
Prof. Jedadiah Crandall from Arizona State University, who is one of the technical experts who has reviewed the Arsenal report in detail has said “to call the forensic report a distortion is unfortunate”. Prof Crandall emphatically added “The Arsenal report conclusively establishes that NetWire was the malware used for incriminating document delivery. There is no room for interpretation or doubt about this.”
To demystify all the technical details, Prof. Jedadiah Crandall has answered the frequently asked questions to help us understand the Bhima Koregaon Forensic Report.
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Surveillance on Rona Wilson Aggressive, Long Time Period Very Unusual: Forensics Firm Head

16/02/2021

The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha

Last week, a Massachusetts-based digital forensics firm, Arsenal Consulting, released a damning report which posed serious questions about the credibility of the letters that were allegedly found in the computer and other gadgets of arrested prisoners’ rights activist Rona Wilson.
Arsenal Consulting’s director Mark Spencer discussed the findings and his impression of the attack in detail in an interview with The Wire.
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Video: Decoding the Arsenal Report – Curious Case of Questionable Evidence in the Case / Press Release

Video: Decoding the Arsenal Report – Curious Case of Questionable Evidence in the Case / Press Release

Video: Decoding the Arsenal Report – Curious Case of Questionable Evidence in the Case

16/02/2021


en | 1h 36min | 2021

By Mumbai Rises to Save Democracy

PRESS CONFERENCE
Speakers
Jedidiah Crandall: Associate Professor, Biodesign Center for Biocomputing, Security and Society; Associate Professor, School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering, Arizona State University Sandeep Shukla: Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Kanpur
Adv. Mihir Desai: Senior Advocate Bombay High Court Lawyer, PUCL
Father Solomon: Director, Bagaicha, Ranchi, Fr Stan Swamy’s colleague
Sagar Abraham Gonsalves: Vernon Gonsalves’ son
Watch @ YouTube


The NIA’s ‘No Malware Found’ Response to New Forensic Report Points to Ineptitude
Bhima Koregaon Conspiracy Case Must be Quashed in Light of Explosive Forensic Evidence

16/02/2021

By Mumbai Rises to Save Democracy

PRESS RELEASE
On February 10, 2021 the Bhima Koregaon defense team filed a petition in the Bombay High Court seeking the release of Rona Wilson and the quashing of all charges against him. The petition was filed in light of startling new evidence of a forensic analysis that establishes that the top 10 files used to implicate Mr. Wilson with conspiracy to assassinate the Prime Minister and several other charges were fabricated and had been planted on Mr. Wilson’s hard drive by a cyber attacker using the NetWire malware. The forensic analysis was conducted by one of the world’s leading forensic analysis firms, Boston-based Arsenal Consulting and the story was first reported by The Washington Post on February 10.

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Bhima Koregaon hacking allegations: What Arsenal analysis of Rona Wilson’s PC says

Bhima Koregaon hacking allegations: What Arsenal analysis of Rona Wilson’s PC says

Firstpost / by Praveen Swami

Arsenal Consulting’s findings will, obviously, be contested by the police’s Forensic Science Laboratory; that is the normal back-and-forth of any criminal trial.
Last week, US-based digital forensics firm Arsenal Consulting released the results of its investigation into the computer of Rona Wilson — one of 16 people facing trial in the Bhima Koregaon case. The evidence assembled by prosecutors against the accused include letters containing, among other things plans to buy assault weapons from Nepal, and a plot assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The analysis raises questions about not just the authenticity of those documents, but also the possible manipulation of Wilson’s computer by still-unidentified hackers.
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Video: The Needle of Doubt is Now on All Matters, says Mihir Desai / India’s democracy in decline

Video: The Needle of Doubt is Now on All Matters, says Mihir Desai / India’s democracy in decline

Video: Not Just Bhima Koregaon, the Needle of Doubt is Now on All Matters, says Mihir Desai

12/02/2021


hindi | 23:12min | 2021

Newsclick / Bhasha Singh in conversation with Mihir Desai

In a special offering by Newsclick, senior journalist Bhasha Singh spoke to Mihir Desai, a senior advocate at the Bombay High Court about the new revelation by The Washington Post in the Bhima Koregaon case which has revealed that offensive material was planted through a software on arrested political activist Rona Wilson’s laptop. The disclosure is important because it almost makes it clear that electronic evidence was planted in the Bhima Koregaon case and there is a strong sense of fear that it may happen in other cases as well.
Watch video


Also Read: Computer of Rona Wilson was compromised, malware planted from outside: US Forensic Firm report (Feb 10, 2021)


India’s democracy in decline

12/02/2021

Washington Post / by Joanna Slater and Niha Masih

The future of the world’s largest democracy is looking increasingly less democratic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the most dominant Indian leader in five decades, while the country’s independent institutions have rarely appeared weaker…
One case in particular has become a litmus test for the rule of law and freedom of expression in India. Three years ago, police in a state controlled by Modi’s party began arresting activists under a stringent anti-terrorism law.
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Rona Wilson Moves Bombay HC Seeking SIT Probe Into His Framing [read petition]

Rona Wilson Moves Bombay HC Seeking SIT Probe Into His Framing [read petition]

Rona Wilson challenges his prosecution in Bombay HC; seeks SIT probe into his framing [read petition/forensic report]

10/02/2021

The Leaflet / by The Leaflet

An accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, Rona Wilson, has filed a petition in the Bombay High Court challenging his prosecution under the stringent anti-terrorism Unlawful Activities (Prevention) (UAPA) Act. He has also sought the constitution of a special investigation team (SIT) to investigate his “framing” and “targeting” by planting incriminating material in his laptop.
Read more


Rona Wilson Moves Bombay High Court Seeking SIT Probe Into Forensic Report

10/02/2021

Live Law / by Sharmeen Hakim

Researcher Rona Wilson, the first person to be arrested in the Bhima Koregaon Case, on Wednesday, approached the Bombay High Court seeking the formation of a Special Investigation Team to inquire into the planting of fabricated documents in his computer over a course of around 22 months.
Wilson, as well as 15 other civil rights activists and academics, in India, are incarcerated, facing charges under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) based on letters primarily retrieved from his and co-accused Surendra Gadling’s computer, to claim a conspiracy to kill the Prime Minister and overthrow the government.
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Also Read: Computer of Rona Wilson was compromised, malware planted from outside: US Forensic Firm report (Feb 10, 2021)


Key evidence against jailed activists planted using malware, says forensic report [read report] / Video: Planted Evidence?

Key evidence against jailed activists planted using malware, says forensic report [read report] / Video: Planted Evidence?

They were Accused of plotting to overthrow the Modi government – The evidence was planted, a new report says

10/02/2021

Washington Post / by Niha Masih and Joanna Slater

Key evidence against a group of Indian activists accused of plotting to overthrow the government was planted on a laptop seized by police, a new forensics report concludes, deepening doubts about a case viewed as a test of the rule of law under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
An attacker used malware to infiltrate a laptop belonging to one of the activists, Rona Wilson, before his arrest and deposited at least 10 incriminating letters on the computer, according to a report from Arsenal Consulting, a Massachusetts-based digital forensics firm that examined an electronic copy of the laptop at the request of Wilson’s lawyers.
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Computer of Rona Wilson was compromised, malware planted from outside: US Forensic Firm report

10/02/2021

Bar & Bench / by Neha Joshi

The report was prepared by a foreign digital forensics consulting company appointed by the lawyers of Rona Wilson, accused in the Bhima Koregaon case.
… Massachusetts-based firm Arsenal Consulting was appointed by Wilson’s lawyers to analyse the electronic evidence seized from his home by the Pune Police in 2018.
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Read Arsenal Consulting’s full report here


Video: Planted Evidence?

10/02/2021


en | 23:20min | 2021

NDTV / by Sreenivasan Jain

In this episode of Reality Check, a new report suggests crucial evidence on which the investigating agencies built the case against activists in the Bhima Koregaon case may have been planted.
Sreenivasan Jain in conversation with Mark Spencer, Head of Arsenal Consulting; Joanna Slater, Washington Post; Vrinda Grover, Advocate Supreme Court; Geeta Bhatt, Political Analyst; N Venugopal, Varavara Rao’s nephew.
Watch video


Key evidence against jailed activists planted using malware, says forensic report

10/02/2021

Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff

The report found that an attacker used malware to infiltrate activist Rona Wilson’s laptop before his arrest, and deposited at least 10 incriminating letters.
Key evidence against a group of activists and intellectuals, who have been arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case, was planted using a malware on a laptop seized by police, a new forensics report has found, The Washington Post reported.
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Incriminating Letters Were ‘Planted’ on Rona Wilson’s Laptop: US Digital Forensics Firm

10/02/2021

The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha

Investigating agencies have used these letters to implicate Wilson and 15 other rights activists arrested in the ongoing Elgar Parishad case of 2018.
For at least 22 months before the Pune Police had raided activist Rona Wilson’s residence in New Delhi and arrested him, a cyber attacker had allegedly gained access to his laptop and planted at least 10 incriminating letters on it.
Read more


Also Read:
Prison-rights activist Rona Wilson’s hard disk contained malware that allowed remote access (The Caravan, Mar 2020)
13 letters leaked by Pune police show why it’s hard to believe claims about a Maoist conspiracy (Scroll.in, Sep 2018)

Pegasus Snooping – Why Users No Longer Believe WhatsApp and Mobile Phones Are Secure

Pegasus Snooping – Why Users No Longer Believe WhatsApp and Mobile Phones Are Secure

The Leaflet / by Nihalsing B Rathod

… When news broke that renowned Indian activists and lawyers had become victims of Pegasus, a chill went over all of us. It was an intensely strange experience to learn that we were being snooped on. Some time passed before we could understand what had really happened.
All of us were, in one way or another, connected with the Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad case.
Read more

How Amnesty investigated the spying campaign against Bhima Koregaon activists

How Amnesty investigated the spying campaign against Bhima Koregaon activists

MediaNama / by Aditi Agrawal

On June 16, MediaNama conducted a telephonic interview with Etienne Maynier, a technologist at Amnesty International, who was part of the team that investigated the coordinated spyware attack against at least nine human rights activists in India, eight of whom have called for the release of eleven activists arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case.
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Also Read: Human Rights Defenders Targeted by a Coordinated Spyware Operation

Spyware attacks on rights defenders show continuing attempt to fix case

Spyware attacks on rights defenders show continuing attempt to fix case

Scroll.in / by Sruthisagar Yamunan

On Monday, an Amnesty International report, put together with digital activist group Citizens Lab, pointed to targeted spyware attacks last year against nine human rights defenders who were helping the people arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case in Maharashtra.
The report is the latest chapter in a case in which it seems an array of forces are at work to plant evidence against 11 human rights activists and lawyers arrested in connection with violence that erupted between Marathas and Dalits in the village of Bhima Koregaon outside Pune on January 1, 2018.
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