Software from an Italian communications surveillance company has been used to hack into smartphones and spy on users in Italy and Kazakhstan.
This was revealed by Google on Thursday in a press release.
“These companies facilitate the proliferation of dangerous hacking tools and arm governments that would not otherwise be able to develop these skills,” accuses the American company, condemning a “thriving” spyware industry.
According to the press release, the victims' smartphones ran on Android and iOS.
Malicious apps in disguise
According to Google engineers, targeted users received a link to install malicious applications.
The latter then spied on their activity or stole documents.
Hackers sometimes acted with the complicity of Internet providers by imitating the apps of these operators.
Otherwise, they pretend to be messengers (like WhatsApp).
According to Google, the software used is that of RCS Lab.
This Italian company “provides cutting-edge technological solutions to security services for communication surveillance,” according to its website.
She did not wish to react to the case.
The Shadow of the Pegasus Scandal
Google said it informed Android victims and "made changes" to protect its users.
Apple also said it had taken action.
In September 2021, the Apple brand had already had to urgently repair a computer flaw that Pegasus, the spyware from the Israeli company NSO, was able to exploit.
Revealed in July 2021, the mass espionage scandal via Pegasus affected tens of thousands of smartphones, including those of members of the French government.
"Our research shows the extent to which spyware vendors have propagated these tools, historically used only by governments," Google said.
"It makes the internet less secure and threatens the trust that users need."
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