Google claims Italian spyware compromised Apple and Android phones

Google claims Italian spyware compromised Apple and Android phones

Tech Highlights:

  • European and American regulators have been weighing potential new rules over the sale and import of spyware. “These vendors are enabling the proliferation of dangerous hacking tools and arming governments that would not be able to develop these capabilities in-house,” Google said. The governments of Italy and Kazakhstan did not immediately respond to requests for comment. An Apple spokesperson said the company had revoked all known accounts and certificates associated with this hacking campaign. RCS Lab said its products and services comply with European rules and help law enforcement agencies investigate crimes.

  • Report asserts RCS Lab, based in Milan, created technologies to track the contacts and private communications on targeted devices. According to the allegation, both Apple and Android cellphones were spied upon in Italy and Kazakhstan using hacking tools. According to a recent disclosure from Alphabet Inc.’s Google, a hacking tool developed in Italy was used to spy on Apple and Android handsets in Kazakhstan and Italy. The article said that RCS Lab, a Milan-based company whose website lists European law enforcement agencies as clients, created tools to spy on the private messages and contacts of the targeted devices.

“RCS Lab personnel are not exposed, nor participate in any activities conducted by the relevant customers,” it told Reuters in an email, adding it condemned any abuse of its products. Google said it had taken steps to protect users of its Android operating system and alerted them about the spyware, known as Hermit. The global industry making spyware for governments has been growing, with more companies developing interception tools for law enforcement. Anti-surveillance activists accuse them of aiding governments that in some cases use such tools to crack down on human rights and civil rights.

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