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Google: Apple, Android Phones Hacked by Italian Spyware

Google: Apple, Android Phones Hacked by Italian Spyware

Thursday, 23 June, 2022 - 18:00
The Google sign is shown on one of the company's office buildings in Irvine, California, US, October 20, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake

An Italian company's hacking tools were used to spy on Apple Inc and Android smartphones in Italy and Kazakhstan, Alphabet Inc's Google said in a report on Thursday.


Milan-based RCS Lab, whose website claims European law enforcement agencies as clients, developed tools to spy on private messages and contacts of the targeted devices, the report said.


Google's findings on RCS Lab comes as European and American regulators weigh potential new rules over the sale and import of spyware.


"These vendors are enabling the proliferation of dangerous hacking tools and arming governments that would not be able to develop these capabilities in-house," Google said.


RCS Lab said its products and services comply with European rules and help law enforcement agencies investigate crimes.


"RCS Lab personnel are not exposed, nor participate in any activities conducted by the relevant customers," it told Reuters in an email, adding that it condemned any abuse of its products.


Google said it had taken steps to protect users of its Android operating system and alerted them about the spyware.


The global industry making spyware for governments has been growing, with more and more companies developing interception tools for law enforcement organizations. Anti-surveillance activists accuse them of aiding governments that in some cases are using such tools to crack down on human rights and civil rights.


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