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Wednesday, 13 December 2017 08:21

Prosecutor calls for end to Hacking Team breach probe


The investigation into a data breach at a Milan-based surveillance technology company is likely to end with no conclusion as to the identity of the attackers.

A report in Motherboard said the prosecutor, who was investigating the break-in at Hacking Team, had on Monday asked for the case to be dismissed.

The website said it had obtained a copy of a notice sent by prosecutor Alessandro Gobbis to the people under investigation, saying that he had requested the judge to shut down the probe.

The breach at Hacking Team, a company that sells surveillance and hacking software to governments worldwide, occurred in July 2015.

A man who called himself Phineas Fisher claimed to be behind the act, saying he had done it to punish the company and its customers as they had been often caught using Hacking Team's wares to spy on dissidents and human rights activists.

The investigation has operated under a veil of secrecy but the occasional report has hinted that the prosecution was targeting four former Hacking Team employees.

The names of the four — Alberto Pelliccione, Guido Landi, Mostapha Maanna, and Alex Velasco — were mentioned in the notice.

The report said that another name in the notice was that of Jon Fariborz Davachi, a US citizen of Iranian origin, who was allegedly the person who funded the operation to attack Hacking Team.

This detail was mentioned in the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera, which also said that the Italian authorities had obtained an arrest warrant for Sera but been blocked from executing it by the US State Department.

Hacking Team now has 20 days to appeal the prosecutor's decision and seek to extend the investigation.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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