An Italian company’s hacking tools were used to spy on Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Android smartphones in Italy and Kazakhstan, Google reports. View the details here.
In a shocking development, your iPhone and Android phones have been found to be at risk. According to the information, a tool has been developed to spy on personal messages and contacts from the targeted devices. Alphabet Inc’s Google has said in a report that an Italian company’s hacking tools were used to spy on Apple Inc and Android smartphones in Italy and Kazakhstan. According to the report, Milan-based RCS Lab, whose website claims European law enforcement agencies as clients, has developed tools to spy on private messages and contacts from the targeted devices. However, Google said it had taken steps to protect users of its Android operating system and notify them of the spyware.
“These vendors enable the proliferation of dangerous hacking tools and arm governments that could not develop these capabilities internally,” Google said. Commenting on the matter, an Apple spokesperson said the company had revoked all known accounts and certificates associated with this hacking campaign, according to a Reuters report. RCS Lab said its products and services comply with European regulations and help law enforcement agencies investigate crimes.
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Reuters was further informed via email: “RCS Lab personnel will not be exposed to or participate in activities performed by the relevant customers.” RCS Lab further said it condemned any misuse of its products.
The global industry that makes government spyware is known to have grown, with more companies developing law enforcement interception tools. Anti-surveillance activists accuse them of helping governments that in some cases use such tools to tackle human and civil rights, Reuters said in a report.
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According to the report, the industry came under the spotlight worldwide when Israeli surveillance company NSO’s Pegasus spyware was used by multiple governments in recent years to spy on journalists, activists and dissidents.
While not as unobtrusive as Pegasus, RCS Lab’s tool can still be used to read messages and view passwords, said Bill Marczak, a security researcher at digital watchdog Citizen Lab. “This shows that while these devices are ubiquitous, there is still a long way to go to secure them against these powerful attacks,” he told Reuters.