‘Hacking Team’ Loses License to Sell Surveillance Malware Outside Europe
Hacking Team – the infamous Italy-based spyware company that had more than 400 GB of its confidential data stolen last year – is facing another trouble.
This time not from other hackers, but from its own government.
Hacking Team is infamous for selling surveillance spyware to governments and intelligence agencies worldwide, but now it may not be allowed to do so, as the Italian export authorities have revoked the company’s license to sell outside of Europe.
Hacking Team had sold its malware, officially known as the Galileo Remote Control System, to authorities in Egypt, Morocco, Brazil, Malaysia, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Mexico, and Panama.
Hacking Team had also signed big contracts with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), making almost $2 Million from both.
However, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) said the company would now have to get an ‘individual’ license, revoking the Hacking Team’s “global authorization” to export its Galileo spyware.
Hacking Team’s spokesperson Eric Rabe confirmed the news on Tuesday, after the Italian outlet Il Fatto Quotidiano first reported of its licence revocation.
So, the company can still sell its Galileo spyware within the European Union without getting any special license, but the sales outside of Europe will require permission on a country-by-country basis.
Of course, it is then again up to the Italian officials whether to approve or refuse any requests from Hacking Team.
Journalists and activists frequently criticized Hacking Team for selling its spyware to nations with poor records on human rights. Hacking Team formerly had the licence to export its spyware to 46 countries.
The List includes the USA, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Israel, India, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Qatar, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam.