David Vincenzetti, the chief executive of Italian surveillance firm 'Hacking Team', has hit out at the 'vigilante' who breached the firm's computer networks last year and leaked over 400GB of internal company data. In a fresh statement, the CEO also slammed the world's media for its coverage of the data breach and maintained his company is a force for good.
The message, which was first reported by Motherboard, comes after a hacker known as 'Phineas Fisher' posted a lengthy description to PasteBin on Sunday (17 April) detailing how the massive breach was allegedly orchestrated.
"The worst of today's news media continue their unfair and inaccurate vilification of Hacking Team," Vincenzetti said in the message, which has now been posted to the firm's website. "The latest comes in the wake of a self-promoting essay by someone who claims responsibility for last summer's attack on this company. The essay writer claims to explain how he executed the attack, but inaccuracies in his story only go to show he is not really as smart as he thinks he is."
Fisher claimed to have infiltrated the firm's networks before hiding there for weeks – all the while exfiltrating gigabytes of sensitive data.
"With 100 hours of work, one person can undo years of work by a multi-million dollar company. Hacking gives the underdog a chance to fight and win," said the elusive culprit. In response to the subsequent media coverage, Vincenzetti said news outlets were simply "desperate for sensational stories" and again denied any wrongdoing on the part of Hacking Team – which specialises in the sale of legal surveillance software, cracking tools and malware to governments, law enforcement and corporations.
He wrote: "Criminals and terrorists today routinely use internet secrecy and end-to-end encryption to rob, kill and terrorise whole populations. Hacking Team provides a valuable tool that law enforcement and security agencies around the world use to keep citizens safe. Instead of reporting this inconvenient truth, these websites and papers celebrate as some sort of victory the work of this vigilante who broke in to the company and stole documents and software. Their motives are the same as those of sensationalist writers of 150 years ago — get readers and let the truth be damned."
Yet there is little denying the entire ordeal has been somewhat 'sensational' in nature. Once the internal documents were stolen they were quickly handed to whistleblowing website WikiLeaks which then compiled them into a searchable format for anyone to access. Within the vast amount of internal data compromised, it was then alleged the firm was selling surveillance technology to repressive regimes, was able to bypass the protections offered by the anonymising Tor browser and outlined how it sold a number of 'zero-day' exploits used to exploit popular software including Adobe Flash.
However, as Vincenzetti states, Hacking Team is still in business. "Despite the best guess of some security experts who wrote that Hacking Team could never recover from the attack and despite the hopes of others, in fact, Hacking Team has restored our lawful surveillance product and developed new cutting-edge tools," he stated. Turning his attention to the hacker responsible for the data leak, he said: "We hope that the vigilante's barging about his work will lead to his swift arrest and prosecution."