NEW DELHI: Google has discovered malware and hacking tools used to spy on Apple iPhones and Android cellphones owned by an Italian vendor.
In a study released on June 23, Google stated that it had been following the activity of commercial spyware sellers for years. Google identified RCS Labs as the Italian business, which targets mobile users on both iOS and Android operating systems using a combination of methods, including anomalous drive-by downloads as first infection vectors. The victims were discovered in Italy and Kazakhstan.
Seven of the nine zero-day vulnerabilities uncovered in 2021 by Google’s Threat Analysis Group fell into this category: created by commercial suppliers and marketed to and leveraged by government-backed attackers.
TAG is actively monitoring over 30 vendors with varied levels of expertise and public exposure that are offering exploits or surveillance capabilities to government-backed entities.
These firms are facilitating the spread of harmful hacking tools and arming governments that would be unable to develop these capabilities in-house.
While the use of surveillance technology may be legitimate under national or international law, governments frequently utilise them for anti-democratic purposes, such as targeting dissidents, journalists, human rights workers, and opposition party politicians.
In keeping with its commitment to openness, the business stated that once it detects these activities, it not only takes steps to safeguard users, but also publicly exposes that information to raise awareness and help the broader ecosystem.
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