An online security firm has become the victim of a huge cyberattack resulting in masses of sensitive data being leaked.
The victim of the attack, Italy-based Hacking Team, said that it believes that a foreign government may responsible, due to the level of sophistication involved.
"Given its complexity, I think that the attack must have been carried out at a government level, or by someone who has huge funds at their disposal," David Vincenzetti, the CEO of Hacking Team, explained.
However, Mr Vincenzetti did not speculate further as to who might be responsible for the hack, which led to 400GB of information being stolen. Hacking Team builds surveillance software for intelligence agencies and the police, so the data it holds is of a highly sensitive nature. Much of the information has now been released on WikiLeaks and similar websites.
Leaked emails reveal that Hacking Team has worked with some high profile clients, including government agencies in Australia, the US, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and its native Italy.
Although Hacking Team have warned customers not to use its software, it is still promoting compromised products online. Until an upgrade is made available, it is advised that all clients refrain from using Hacking Team software.
Away from its most recent setback, Reuters reports that Hacking Team have been the subject of negative headlines in the past. Some of its customers have questionable human rights records and it was previously revealed that Ethiopia was using its software to spy on a journalist. However, Mr Vincenzetti defended his company and explained that the contract with Ethiopia was cancelled once their surveillance programme was revealed.
In 2012, the non-government organisation Reporters Without Borders listed Hacking Team as one of its “Corporate Enemies of the Internet.”