At least 50 U.S. personnel operating abroad have been targeted with sophisticated cellphone surveillance technology, according to a recent report. The spyware, which is reportedly developed by the Italian firm Hacking Team, is capable of remotely accessing a device and collecting all manner of data, including emails, text messages, and GPS location.
The report, which was released by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab and security firm Lookout, indicates that the spyware was likely employed by nation-state actors. While the exact countries involved remain unknown, the report identifies the email addresses used to target the individuals, which suggests that the espionage campaign was widespread and organized.
The technology employed by the perpetrators is highly sophisticated and difficult to detect. The spyware is designed to bypass mobile device security protocols, allowing the attackers to gain access to the device without the user’s knowledge. Once installed, the spyware can collect a vast amount of data, including emails, text messages, photos, and GPS location.
Furthermore, the spyware is capable of remotely activating cameras and microphones, allowing the attackers to monitor victims without their knowledge. The spyware also includes a “self-destruct” feature, which erases all traces of the program once it is installed.
The researchers believe that the spyware was used to target U.S. personnel in an effort to gain access to sensitive information. The report states that the attackers may have been looking for information related to diplomatic negotiations, military operations, or intelligence gathering.
The report also highlighted the need for greater security measures to protect mobile devices from sophisticated surveillance technology. The researchers recommend that users ensure that their devices are running the latest version of their operating system, install trusted anti-virus software, and use strong passwords.
The findings of this report have raised serious concerns about the security of mobile devices and the need for increased vigilance when it comes to protecting sensitive data. While the exact purpose and extent of the espionage campaign remains unknown, it is clear that sophisticated surveillance technology is increasingly being used by nation-state actors to target U.S. personnel abroad.