10:55 GMT26 May 2020
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    Documents hacked from a software manufacturer reveal that the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and the US army all bought the controversial software, known as Remote Control System (RCS) from an Italian company Hacking Team.

    The RCS allows users to take remote control of a suspect’s computer, log all of their communications data keystrokes and even activate their camera. 

    The leaked emails and financial records have been analyzed by The Intercept, which says: "The Milan based Hacking Team is one of a handful of companies that sell off-the-shelf spyware for hundreds of thousands of euros – a price point accessible to smaller countries and large police forces."

    Pierluigi Paganini, founder of Security Affairs, told Sputnik that cyber experts believe the Milan based Hacking Team is selling its hacking tools and malware to other regimes and governments.

    "There is also another part of the story. Cyber security experts suspect that the company is selling its hacking tools and malware to repressive governments, such as Lebanon and Sudan. The governments are accused by privacy campaigners of persecuting dissidents using sophisticated malware such as the ones designed by the Hacking Team firm," Paganini told Sputnik.

    "Many governments, including US, are using the same tools for their investigations, anyway in these countries the use of spyware must be authorized by a court warrant."

    "A number of leaked documents suggest that many US agencies are using the Hacking Team software."

    "The agencies included the FBI, CIA and the Drug Enforcement Administration," says Paganini adding that "there are many law enforcement agencies worldwide using Hacking Team malware and similar products for their investigations."

    "The most dangerous thing when we face with surveillance networks is to ensure their control."

    "Try to imagine the effects of a hack operated by a state-sponsored actor for example, APT group or a foreign intelligence agency, which is able to gain the control of the surveillance platform," Paganini explains.

    Governments including Russia, China and North Korea can have their access to sensitive data collected by the malware developed by companies like Hacking Team or Gamma.

    In a statement provided by Hacking Team to The Intercept, spokesperson Eric Rabe said: "We do not disclose the names or locations of our clients" and "we cannot comment on the validity of documents purportedly from our company."

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    Tags:
    Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), communication, malware, spyware, hacking, surveillance, privacy, Europe, United States
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