Mozilla has refused UAE attempts to become an Internet security gatekeeper. (Getty Images)

Mozilla Blocks UAE Bid to be Internet Security Guardian After Cyber Espionage Program Allegation

Mozilla said in a statement on Tuesday (7/9) that it is blocking UAE from becoming its globally recognized internet security gatekeeper after analyzing a report delivered by Reuters about the country’s cybersecurity firm Dark Matter’s linkage to state-run hacking program.

Months earlier, Dark Matter has asked Mozilla to formally trust its roots certificate in the Firefox certificate store, but Reuters reported in January that the firm provided staff to Emirati intelligence agency for a secret hacking operation called ‘Project Raven’. According to the investigation, Dark Matter employed many former US intelligence officials as its hacking staff. They conducted offensive cyber operations like hacking the accounts of government rivals, journalist, and human rights on behalf of the UAE government. However, former Raven operatives told that many executives at Dark Matter did not aware of the secret project.

Selena Deckelmann, engineering senior director of Mozilla, said that after the investigation the firm fearing Dark Matter would misuse its role as internet security gatekeeper in government surveillance efforts that will violate the browser firm’s fundamental privacy policy. For years, Mozilla has been fighting for users’ individual privacy and security as cited on its core principle. The proposal rejection is seen as a preventive action to avoid unsecured risks.

Mozilla said it will also block Dark Matter’s several other separate bids and 275 unsafe websites which the company gained in 2017 under an earlier provisional authority.

In response to this, Dark Matter executives called the allegation as false, defamatory, and unsubstantiated.