A New York Times article describing the growth of email spyware as a political weapon, titled “Cyberwar for Sale,” cited Citizen Lab research into Hacking Team, an Italian team that creates spyware for sale to governments. In particular, the article cites Citizen Lab’s work in exposing the use of Hacking Team software on the devices of Moroccan, UAE, and Ethiopian activists.
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Hacking Team, a Milan-based developer of “offensive security” technology that markets its products to governments and law enforcement agencies around the world, was significantly compromised when hackers leaked nearly 400 GB of its internal data, including emails, client files, and financial documents. The leak was announced via Hacking Team’s own compromised Twitter account, and the content made publicly available. Among other things, the leaked documents confirmed our findings that the company sells its software to several governments with repressive human rights records, such as Ethiopia, Sudan, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, and more.
This letter is in response to a statement issued by Hacking Team that has recently come to our attention, concerning Citizen Lab’s report titled “Police Story: Hacking Team’s Government Surveillance Malware” (June 24, 2014).