The NSA has been spying on politicians and common citizens, domestically and abroad, for decades now. Now, a recent online hack of private documents has revealed that national governments are able to obtain software services to hack into Bitcoin and other private digital currency accounts through an Italian subcontractor.
400GB of documents captured from a popular international surveillance technology company called Hacking Team has been uncovered by CSO Online’s Steve Ragan. These documents reveal what spy technology is available and how much countries are investing in it.
Bitcoin, Litecoin and other digital currency wallet hacks are one of many services provided by Hacking Team to national governments for anywhere from tens to millions of dollars. Moreover, the Hacking Team has made it to reporters Without Borders’ Enemies of the Internet list for their history of espionage.
The entity that hacked the Hacking Team is unknown at this time, but they managed to release a 400GB torrent file with documents files with details of what they do and who they do it with. It's worth mentioning that the Department of Defense is listed as not currently active while the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has a renewal in progress.
Documents reveal that the FBI had an active maintenance contract with Hacking Team until June 30, 2015. The biggest national spenders on this type of technology are Mexico, with over 5 million Euros; Italy invested over 4 million Euros and Morocco with over 3 million. Keep in mind that the larger and more advanced the country, the less likely they may need the company’s surveillance services.
The countries that the Hacking Team has already done business with include: Egypt, Ethiopia, Morocco, Nigeria, Sudan, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, United States, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Australia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxemburg, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Russia and Sudan have been associated with Hacking Team but are currently listed as “Not officially supported”
Recently, Hacking Team's Christian Pozzi was exposed by the hacking incident, as the company’s security engineer's password from Firefox was published as part of the massive data dump. He took to Twitter to issue denials. When these fell on deaf ears, he warned that the 400GB download contained viruses. His Twitter account was compromised and later deleted.
The Hacking Team’s Twitter account has also been compromised, with the unknown hackers publishing a link to the data download and writing:
"Since we have nothing to hide, we are publishing all our emails, files, and source code."