THE "HACKING TEAM" SPYWARE COMPANY GETS HACKED
Hundreds of GB of data dumped online
July 06, 2015
(INTERNATIONAL) -- In a move some might consider poetic justice or instant Karma, an Italian developer of surveillance software by the name of "Hacking Team" has evidently itself been hacked in a big way.
The company, which has come under criticism in the past by digital activists, has apparently suffered a large data breach.
Hacking Team develops surveillance tools that it claims are legally sold to governments for lawful purposes but the company's critics say the company’s software has been used to spy on journalists as well as dissidents and human rights activists.
Other tech companies have reported that on Sunday, it looked as though the company's Twitter feed had been taken over by outside agents because the banner on the page had been changed to the words “Hacked Team.”
There were several posts containing screen shots that are reportedly that of the stolen data, which included emails sent by Hacking Team’s founder and CEO, Vincent Vincenzetti.
According to one tech website, PCworld.com, Hacking Team officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
Various reports claim the data that was stolen from the Hacking Team may be up to 400GB and that the data has been widely shared online.
According to cosonline.com, "The hackers released a 400GB Torrent file with internal documents, source code, and email communications to the public at large. As researchers started to examine the leaked documents, the story developed and the public got its first real look into the inner workings of an exploit development firm."
The website also says Hacking Team's business (selling intrusion and surveillance tools to governments and law enforcement agencies) has earned the company a black mark from privacy and human rights organizations, "as the company has been accused of selling tools and services to nations known for violent oppression. "
The BBC reported that the company it was working with Italian police to track down the hackers and that the stolen data includes a list of the countries that have bought Hacking Team's main surveillance tool, called Da Vinci, and "emails suggesting intelligence agencies use it to spy on activists and journalists."
According to the BBC the list of countries includes: Azerbaijan, Chile, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sudan.
Cosonline.com noted that the link to Sudan is especially newsworthy as the company "previously stated they've never done business with the nation."
The report went on to say, "There is a UN arms embargo on the Sudan, which is covered by EU and UK law. If they were doing business with the Sudanese government, Hacking Team could be in hot water."
In 2014, a Citizen Lab report revealed evidence that Hacking Team's RCS (Remote Control System) was being used by the Sudanese government, something the Italian company flat-out denied, said the cosonline.com report.
The BBC reported quoted Security expert Graham Cluley as saying the company had "no shortage of online enemies around the world".