Surveillance Companies in the MENA Region
Blue Coat Systems
CacheFlow was established in 1996 in the USA before its name was changed to Blue Coat in 2001 and its headquarters moved to the state of California. In 2016 Symantec acquired Blue Coat in a deal estimated at 4.65 billion dollars. After finalizing the deal, the two companies’ products and services were merged under Symantec’s name. The company provides devices, software, and services designed for Cybersecurity, and networks management. Among these products are ProxySG devices that work with WebFilter. These devices work on categorizing web pages to allow filtering the unwanted content. Among these products also is a cloud network management device that can control unwanted traffic.
According to an investigation by the Citizen Lab, the products of Blue Coat were used in Syria in 2011, for filtering content and for surveillance by the Syrian government. In October 2011, Telecomix issued almost 54 GBs of data claimed to consist of the Syrian surveillance files extracted from Blue Coat devices active in Syria. Citizen Lab’s investigation mentioned that 11 ProxySG and 50 PacketShaper devices exist on public or governmental networks in some countries with a notorious history of human rights violation, surveillance and censorship on the Internet, among these are many Middle East and North Africa countries.
In 2014, BuzzFeed announced that the Egyptian government has purchased Blue Coat’s ProxySG through its agent in Egypt, System Engineering of Egypt, also known as See Egypt, in a deal that included offers from both Gamma Group and Narus System. According to the news piece, through this software the Egyptian government can hack into WhatsApp, Viper, Skype and other applications to spy on conversations. The software also allows using deep packets inspection through which the geographic location of users can be determined as well as conducting content tracking, surveilling and filtering.
Country of Origin
Sao Paolo, Brazil – Waterloo, Canada – Sidney, Australia – Peking, China – Hyderabad, India – Saul, South – Korea – Brussels, Belgium – Paris, France – Munich, Germany
Systems Engineering of Egypt
Software and Equipment
Blue Coat ProxySG – PacketShaper
Type of Attack
Deep packet inspection
WhatsApp, Viber, Skype
Internet censorship and website blocking
Windows macOS, Linux, Android, iPhone
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, Syria
Technical Specifications of Software and Equipment
Blue Coat provides devices, software, and services designed for cybersecurity and network management. Among these products are ProxySG devices that work with WebFilter. These devices work on categorizing web pages to allow filtering the unwanted content. The company also manufactures PackedShaper, which is a cloud network management device that can control unwanted traffic. Using these devices allows blocking websites, and monitoring users’ activities on the Internet.