Hacking Team claims terrorists can now use its tools

The beleaguered security company said the situation is 'extremely dangerous'

Hacking Team is claiming its surveillance software leaked in a massive data breach could be used by terrorists and criminals.

Hacking Team is claiming its surveillance software leaked in a massive data breach could be used by terrorists and criminals.

Hacking Team has warned that a devastating data breach it suffered will allow its spying tools to be used by criminals and terrorists.

The Milan-based security company, which develops surveillance tools for mostly government clients, saw more than 400GB of internal data released on Sunday, including emails, clients lists, financial information and source code.

"Terrorists, extortionists and others can deploy this technology at will if they have the technical ability to do so," wrote Hacking Team spokesman Eric Rabe in a news release on Wednesday. "We believe this is an extremely dangerous situation."

Hacking Team's flagship product is the Remote Control System (RCS), also known as Galileo. It is marketed to law enforcement and other government agencies as a tool that can stealthily intercept data on desktop computers and mobile devices.

The company's claim, however, is worth questioning as it isn't clear why someone would attempt to use software that's been under extremely close scrutiny in recent days.

Rabe wrote that Hacking Team's investigation showed that "that sufficient code was released to permit anyone to deploy the software against any target of their choice."

Hacking Team somewhat undermined its claim as well. Rabe wrote that "we expect too that antivirus companies are upgrading their programs to detect the compromised RCS."

Security researchers for years have been tracking deployments of RCS, alleging that Hacking Team sold it to governments with poor human rights records and documenting instances where activists have been spied on.

Analysts who've looked at the breach have found at least one zero-day vulnerability that was part of Hacking Team's arsenal to get its software onto devices. That vulnerability, in Adobe Systems' Flash player, has been patched.

It means that if other people tried to deploy Hacking Team's software, they would to either need to trick people into installing it or use an exploit for another software vulnerability.

The breach hasn't put Hacking Team out of business. Rabe wrote that its engineers are updating RCS to "allow clients to resume criminal and intelligence investigations." Almost all of the company's clients have suspended use of RCS now, he wrote.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securityHacking Team

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?