Hacking Team's CEO says that despite the "significant blow" from unknown hackers his company will continue to develop its surveillance software for use by governments and law enforcement agencies around the world, and promises to have its Galileo system back online "immediately".
David Vincenzetti issued the statement one week on from what he calls a "reckless and vicious criminal attack" against his company, which produces lawful intercept tools for agencies in many countries and has drawn a lot of criticism for selling those tools to governments with questionable human rights records.
What is Hacking Team?
Italian company Hacking Team sells sophisticated spying software to governments and law enforcement agencies around the world.
They have been criticised for selling their services to regimes with questionable human rights records in countries such as Sudan, Bahrain and Kazakhstan.
On 5 July a trove of 400GB of data stolen from the company was posted online by an unknown hacker. This included sensitive documents, government tender details, client invoices, internal emails and, crucially, source code and explicit details on how the mass surveillance software operates.
Vincenzetti says the attack against Hacking Team, which saw more than 400GB of sensitive data leaked online, was a "significant blow" to the company by "attackers who clearly wanted to destroy our company". In an interview with La Stampa newspaper Vincenzetti indicated that he believed the attack was carried out by a government due to the sophistication of the attack and the resources necessary to carry it out.
In his latest statement, Vincenzetti defends the work his company carries out, saying: "The lawful surveillance system that Hacking Team has provided to law enforcement for more than a decade is critical to the work of preventing and investigating crime and terrorism."
The CEO added that while some of the source code for the company's spying tools – known as Remote Control System (RCS) – was leaked as part of the hack, "you should know that important elements of our source code were not compromised in this attack and remain undisclosed and protected".
Galileo back online immediately
Vincenzetti said that his company's top priority was getting RCS back online for its customers and he said the company expects to "deliver this update immediately" for the Galileo version of RCS. Hacking Team's spokesperson Eric Rabe told IBTimes UK that the company was already ringing customers to organise an update of their systems.
Hacking Team is currently working with the Italian police to identify the person or group who attacked the company and Vincenzetti says he fully expects law enforcement agencies from other countries to get involved in "the hunt for the criminals".
Vincenzetti signed off by saying that, despite the hackers best efforts, they "would not succeed in their objective" and that Hacking Team would "emerge with new and better tools for law enforcement and [be] more committed than ever to assuring the safety and security of all of us".
In the wake of the Hacking Team attack, groups such as Privacy International, Citizen Lab and Humans Right Watch said they have been vindicated in their criticism of the likes of Hacking Team, as internal documents showed it had done business with countries like Sudan that are on the UN's blacklist.
Last week the company told IBTimes UK that the leaks showed it had broken no laws and acted completely ethically:
"We don't have anything to hide about what we are doing and we don't think that there is any evidence in this 400GB of data that we have violated any laws and I would even go so far as to argue that there is no evidence that we have behaved in anything but a completely ethical way," Rabe said.