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'Hacking Team company sold surveillance tools to Sudan'

July 6 - 2015 LONDON
A farmer in Dongola, Northern Sudan, talking on his mobile telephone (file photo)
A farmer in Dongola, Northern Sudan, talking on his mobile telephone (file photo)

Leaked internal documents show that Hacking Team, an Italian company that develops powerful surveillance tools, sold its software to blacklisted Sudan.

The Hacking Team has been hacked itself, by unknown hackers who posted the internal documents on various file sharing websites, International Business Times (IBTimes) UK reported today.

Hacking Team develops highly-sophisticated cyber tools to allow the surveillance of people's smart phones and computers. Research published by Citizen Lab in 2014 highlighted the powerful nature of Hacking Team's “lawful intercept tool” known as Da Vinci, which allows those using it to implant a piece of malware on smart phones and take control of the devices’ microphones, cameras, keyboards, and even services like Facebook, WhatsApp and Skype.


According to researchers of the leaked documents, the list of countries which are using or have used Hacking Team's surveillance tools ranges from the USA, Australia, and Germany to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan.

The sale of the cyber weapons to Sudan is one of the most controversial revelations, IBTimes UK states, as the UN has been investigating a report by Citizen Lab that Hacking Team's tools were being used by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in the country.

The Italian company told the UN investigators that it does not have a business relationship with the Sudanese government or the NISS. According to a leaked document, Hacking Team's own system has Sudan -and Russia- listed as “not officially supported”. However, a leaked invoice for the sum of €480,000 ($533,000), sent by Hacking Team to the Sudanese government for a 50 percent payment for the use of the company's cyber-weapon Remote Control System, would suggest a business relationship.

Sudan is currently subject to an arms embargo by the UN which is also incorporated into EU and UK law. It bans the export of “arms and related material” to the country, and prohibits technical assistance, brokering services, and other military-related services.

(Source: IBTimes UK)

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