Former employees at Hacking Team, the controversial surveillance software firm that actively sold counter-surveillance software and tools to governments and oppressive regimes around the world, have been questioned by Italian law enforcement authorities, Reuters reported.
Prosecutors in Milan, Italy are currently investigating claims that six former employees at the firm may have been connected to the massive hacking attack and subsequent data breach of the Italian company.
A breach that made headlines
The world took notice of the data breach when hackers actively penetrated Hacking Team’s network and database to download nearly 400 GB of data from the company’s servers. The data has since been dumped on WikiLeaks and is freely available online.
The large cache includes company e-mails, customer and client details, and crucially, some of the source-code of the technologies being developed by the firm.
The source-code, which is the framework for the company’s many top-secret programs, are now published online and Hacking Team has warned that such technology could prove to be disastrous if it fell into the wrong hands.
“Terrorists, extortionists, and others can deploy this technology at will if they have the technical ability to do so,” stated Eric Rabe, the company’s spokesman at the time.
“We believe this is an extremely dangerous situation,” he added.
The Investigation into Ex-Employees
Sources close to the investigation and the case inform Reuters that six suspects had already been under scrutiny in a separate case earlier for allegedly revealing trade and industry secrets of the company.
That particular probe began after David Vincenzetti, the CEO of Hacking Team, filed a complaint accusing the former employees of revealing part of the company’s source code back in May.
Reuters now confirms that the current investigation and the former probe have now been combined.
“Hacking Team believes several former employees are in violation of the employment agreements in that they used their knowledge of the company and proprietary information to compete against Hacking Team,” Eric Rabe, company spokesman, told ArsTechnica on Sunday. “However, this is a personnel matter and the company has no further comment.”
The former employees were accused of violating their contracts and using insider secrets to enrich and benefit competitors, according to allegations by Hacking Team.
“I’ve read in the press that I’m being sued, I have also read the conversation between Vincenzetti and his lawyers about suing me,” said former senior developer Guido Landi and one of the six being investigated. “That’s all I know for now.”