Grey Heron, the new Co in the surveillance industry that promises to spy on Signal and Telegram

Pierluigi Paganini March 27, 2018

Who is behind the newborn Grey Heron surveillance company? According to an investigation conducted by Motherboard, the firm is linked to the Italian surveillance firm Hacking Team.

The development and sale of surveillance software is a profitable business, many government agencies use spyware for different purposes, in some their involvement is very questionable.

Early this month, the journalist Joseph Cox from Motherboard wrote an interesting post on a mysterious surveillance firm called Grey Heron.

The company was advertising a spyware that is able to spy on Signal and Telegram communications.

The name Grey Heron was unknown also among the security community, but the investigation conducted by Motherboard linked the company to the controversial Italian surveillance firm Hacking Team,

In 2015, the company suffered a major data breach, the hacker known as Phineas Fisher exfiltrated more than 400 gigabytes of internal data from company servers.

The hackers stole company’s emails, customer records, and the source code for hacking tools and exploits.

In 2017, the company was bought by an entity linked to the Saudi Government bought.

A new post written by Joseph Cox along with the colleague Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, cited a former Hacking Team employee, who speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the link between Hacking Team and Grey Heron.

“[it would] make sense to use a different name to continue to sell to those clients who weren’t happy after the hack.” said the former employee.

“Except those customers who don’t care because they buy spyware without thinking twice,” “I imagine that there’s a lot of them who don’t see Hacking Team favorably anymore, including the reselling partners, perhaps even more so than the final customers.”

The interesting news is that Grey Heron has confirmed privately that the Italian Government has given it the permission to export its products throughout the European Union.

Grey Heron is looking with great interest at both the European and North American markets.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Hacking Team, Grey Heron)

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