Hacking Team hack 'could have been state-sponsored'

Company's CEO cites complexity of attack as evidence for state backing

Tags: Hacking Team (www.hackingteam.it/)
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Hacking Team hack 'could have been state-sponsored' Hacking Team has advised its customers to stop using its products
By  Tom Paye Published  July 13, 2015

Hacking Team, the Italian cyber-security firm that was the victim of a 400 GB data breach last week, has said that the attack might have been carried out by a government.

The firm, which peddles what is essentially spyware to government organisations, said to La Stampa newspaper that the attack's complexity suggested that it was carried out by either a state or else someone with large funds at their disposal, Reuters reported.

The company's CEO, David Vincenzetti, did not make any formal accusations on who he thought was behind the attack.  

As a result of the hack, Hacking Team has advised its customers to stop using its products, at least until it can push out updates to plug the leak. However, the company has also warned customers that systems may remain vulnerable even after a patch. The source code for some of the company's programs have been published online.

"Hacking Team's investigation has determined that sufficient code was released to permit anyone to deploy the software against any target of their choice," Hacking Team said in a statement.

"Terrorists, extortionists and others can deploy this technology at will if they have the technical ability to do so."

The company operates legally under Italian laws, selling intrusion and surveillance software. It's website includes splashes of phrases such as, "Thousands of encrypted communications per day. Get them in the clear", "Invisible to the target. Evade computer security" and "Total control of your targets. Log everything you need. Always. Anywhere they are."

Condemned by Reporters Without Borders on its Enemies of the Internet list, the company has drawn scorn from privacy advocates in the past, for its sale of legal software tools to governments and law enforcement agencies. One of its products, Da Vinci, has been tied to numerous cases of privacy invasion around the world.

The company's customer list, leaked as part of yesterday's trove, includes organisations in Italy, the US, the ex-Soviet bloc, South East Asia and the GCC.

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