March 30, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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Hacking Android and Apple smartphones with Italian spyware

Hacking Android and Apple smartphones with Italian spyware

Google has announced that it has used hacking tools for an Italian company to spy on Apple and Android smartphones in Italy and Kazakhstan. Google said the Milan-based RCS Lab, which has European law enforcement and intelligence agencies as clients, has developed tools to spy on private messages and contacts from targeted devices.

European and US regulators have weighed potential new rules on the sale and import of spyware. “These vendors enable the spread of dangerous hacking tools and arm governments that cannot develop these capabilities internally,” Google said.

RCS Labs states that its products and services comply with European regulations and assists law enforcement agencies in investigating crimes. Google reported that it has taken steps to protect users of its Android operating system and has informed users affected by the spyware.

The global industry that manufactures spyware for governments is growing, and more and more companies are developing law enforcement interception tools. Anti-surveillance activists accuse them of helping governments that in some cases use such tools to address human rights and civil rights issues.

The industry came to the fore around the world when NSO’s Pegasus spyware was used by several governments in recent years to spy on journalists, activists and dissidents. Google researchers found that RCS Lab had previously partnered with the controversial Italian spying company, Hacking Team, which similarly created surveillance software for foreign governments to eavesdrop on phones and computers. Hacking Team went bankrupt after falling victim to a major hack in 2015 that exposed several internal documents.

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