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Published: 2015-07-06 17:23:54

A group of hackers calling themselves “Phineas Fisher” announced that they had breached the servers of the Italian company Hacking Team, a controversial firm that sold surveillance software to law enforcement and intelligence agencies around the world.

The hackers released over 400GB of data, including confidential company documents, source code, and customer lists, on the internet. The breach exposed the company’s activities in selling their software to governments with questionable human rights records, including Sudan, Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia.

Hacking Team’s software, known as Remote Control System (RCS), allowed governments to monitor the communications and activities of individuals using targeted devices, including smartphones and computers. The software had been criticized by privacy advocates for enabling governments to conduct intrusive surveillance without proper legal oversight.

The company had also been the subject of controversy due to allegations that its software had been used to target journalists, activists, and dissidents in countries such as Mexico and the United Arab Emirates.

The Hacking Team breach was seen as a significant blow to the company’s reputation and raised questions about the ethics of selling surveillance software to authoritarian regimes. The company’s CEO resigned in the aftermath of the breach, and the Italian government revoked Hacking Team’s export license for a period of time.

The breach also served as a warning to other companies involved in the surveillance industry, highlighting the potential risks of conducting business with authoritarian regimes and the need for stronger cybersecurity measures to protect against cyberattacks.

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