Intelligence agencies’ secretive techniques for spying on mobile phones are seldom made public. But a UK security firm has shown the BBC how one tool, sold around the world to spooks, actually works. It allows spies to take secret pictures with a phone’s camera and record conversations with the microphone, without the phone owner knowing.
Hacking Team’s software was recently stolen from the company by hackers and published on the web. Almost any data on a phone, tablet or PC can be accessed by the tool and it is fascinating how much it can do.
When Joe Greenwood, of cybersecurity firm 4Armed, saw that source code for the programme had been dumped online by hackers, he couldn’t resist experimenting with it. Although he had to fiddle with the code to make it work, it only took a day before he had it up and running. The software consists of the surveillance console, which displays data retrieved from a hacked device, and malware planted on the target device itself.
4Armed was careful to note that using it to spy on someone without their consent would be against the law.
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