Italy has revoked the Hacking Team's licence to sell its spy and malware software outside of Europe. The Italian digital surveillance and security firm was previously awarded a "global authorisation" by the government, which allowed it to export products to 46 countries outside EU.
The licence revoke is bound to hit the company hard, given that it was the target of a massive breach in July 2015, wherein over 1 million emails of its clients were leaked. Since the company provided its surveillance spyware to governments and intelligence agencies around the world, seems like the leak that exposed most of its clients could be connected to the company's licence being revoked. The Italian Ministry of Economic Development (Mise) said that the company would now have to procure "individual" licences when exporting products to specific nations, according to Italian newspaper Fatto Quotidiano.
Hacking Team's spokesperson Eric Rabe said: "Yes, the global license has been suspended by MISE but Hacking Team still has approvals for all countries within the EU, and the company also expects to be given approvals for sales to countries outside the EU," the Motherboard reported.
The surveillance company had lobbied hard and obtained a global authorisation licence from the Italian government, prior to being hacked, to collaborate with Boeing on putting Hacking Team's Galileo spyware onto drones, effectively developing a method by which to infect public Wi-Fi networks with its spyware.
The Hacking Team still remains legally bound to distribute its Galileo software within Europe. It is only when attempting to ship the software to clients outside that the firm would require to apply for a special individual licence.
According to Mise, the government was aware that Hacking Team's clients in 2015 included countries such as Egypt, Thailand, Malaysia, Lebanon and Brazil, among others. It revealed that "in light of changed political situations" with one of Hacking Team's many international clients, the government decided on revoking a global licence. Given the aggressive and intrusive nature of Hacking Team's product, it is surprising as to how the government had granted it a global license authorisation.