The Italian spyware vendor Hacking Team has been hacked, with leaked documents revealing what appear to be the cybersecurity firm’s sale of surveillance technology to authoritarian governments with histories of human rights abuses.
These revelations seem to validate research conducted by Citizen Lab, which has previously published research implicating Hacking Team in providing spyware to repressive regimes around the world.
Citizen Lab is a host organization for OTF’s Information Control Fellowship Program (ICFP). Current ICFP fellow Bill Marczak has co-authored multiple reports detailing Hacking Team’s Remote Control System (RCS), a spyware developed exclusively by Hacking Team and touted by the firm as being “untraceable.” In March, Marczak co-authored a report cataloguing the use of Hacking Team’s RCS spyware to target Ethiopian journalists based in the US – possibly by the Ethiopian government.
Citizen Lab’s research has previously identified nearly two dozen governments using Hacking Team’s RCS spyware, many with human rights records that are questionable at best. Suspected government clients included Ethiopia, Azerbaijan, Sudan, and Uzbekistan.