Apple, Android phones targeted by Italian spy: Google
SAN FRANCISCO: The Italian company’s hijacking tools used to spy on Apple and Android smartphones in Italy and Kazakhstan, Google said on Thursday, illuminating the “thriving” spyware industry. The Google threats team said a spy detected by the RCS Lab directed the calls using a combination of unconventional “driving download” tricks that took place without the knowledge of the victims.
Concerns about spyware were fueled by media reports that reported last year that Israeli company NSO’s Pegasus was being used by governments to target opponents, activists and journalists.
“They say they only sell to customers who use surveillanceware, such as intelligence and law enforcement,” said Lookout cybersecurity expert for companies like NSO and RCS.
“In fact, such tools are often misused under the guise of national security to monitor business executives, human rights activists, journalists, academics and government officials,” Lookout said.
A Google report said the RCS spy revealed, also known as “Hermit”, is similar to what Lookout previously reported.
Lookout researchers say in April they found the Hermit used by the Kazakh government within its borders to test smartphones, just months after the crackdown on anti-government protests in the country.