Security world chuckles at Hacking Team’s 'virus torrent' squeals

Pull the other one, security pros implore eggfaced biz


Controversial spyware maker Hacking Team claims a torrent purporting to contain source code and other documents stolen from its systems is riddled with a "virus" – a claim laughed at by independent security experts in the industry.

Some 400GB of Hacking Team's internal emails, source code, and other files were published via BitTorrent early on Monday morning. The Italian firm’s Twitter feed was also hijacked as part of the comprehensive pwnage, as previously reported on The Register.

The torrent file reportedly also includes login credentials and passwords for their support site for Egypt, Mexico and Turkey.

Nobody has yet claimed credit for the hack.

Hacking Team's Christian Pozzi claims the leak of sensitive internal material contains a virus, a statement security experts are treating as an attempt at damage limitation.

“No, the torrent contains all of your viruses, which you sell, and which will get patched,” said John Adams, an ex-operations and security worker at Twitter, in an update that’s typical of the general industry response to the breach.

Pozzi denied selling malware, describing its wares as “custom software solutions” before his account was also seized.

Hacking Team re-established control of its Twitter account late on Monday morning. Its main site appeared to be having problems at the time of writing.

Hacking Team sells its Da Vinci malware/surveillanceware to law enforcement and governments. Critics argue that the kit is used by countries with patchy human rights records to spy on activists and journalists.

Analysis of the leak is ongoing, with early attention focusing on directory listings for the leak. These imply that the Italian firm’s customers included commercial firms and banks.

Hacking Team is not the first governmental malware contractor to get hacked. Something similar happened to Gamma International (suppliers of FinFisher) last year. Security breaches normally attract some sympathy, but Hacking Team's business means that its problems have provoked a very different response.

“Apparently the Italian equivalent of schadenfreude is gioia maligna,” said security expert Kenn White, on Twitter. ®

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