Hacktivism

Operation Hotel – Ecuador spent millions on spy operation for Julian Assange

According to The Guardian newspaper, Ecuador spent millions on spy operation for Julian Assange after he hacked the embassy network.

According to a report published by the Guardian, Ecuador spied on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at its London embassy where he took in political asylum since 2012,

In 2012 a British judge ruled he should be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault there, but Assange explained that they were political accusations.

“Ecuador bankrolled a multimillion-dollar spy operation to protect and support Julian Assange in its central London embassy, employing an international security company and undercover agents to monitor his visitors, embassy staff and even the British police, according to documents seen by the Guardian.” reads the report published by The Guardian.

“Over more than five years, Ecuador put at least $5m (£3.7m) into a secret intelligence budget that protected the WikiLeaks founder while he had visits from Nigel Farage, members of European nationalist groups and individuals linked to the Kremlin.”

The newspaper revealed Equador spent $5.0 million on the operation codenamed “Operation Guest” and later “Operation Hotel” that was approved by the then Ecuadorian president, Rafael Correa, and the then foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño.

Initially, the operation aimed at the Assange’s protection, but later became a spying operation on the journalist. From June 2012 to the end of August 2013, Operation Hotel cost Ecuador $972,889, according to documents belonging to the Senain, the Ecuadorian intelligence agency.

The experts hired by Equador monitored Assange’s daily activities and any contact with external staff and visitors, the stayed in a rented flat near the embassy at a cost of £2,800 a month.

“Documents show the intelligence programme, called “Operation Guest”, which later became known as “Operation Hotel” – coupled with parallel covert actions – ran up an average cost of at least $66,000 a month for security, intelligence gathering and counter-intelligence to “protect” one of the world’s most high-profile fugitives.” continues the newspaper. the paper said.

According to The Guardian, that cited documents it has vieved, Assange hacked the communications system within the embassy gaining access to staff communications.

“In an extraordinary breach of diplomatic protocol, Assange managed to compromise the communications system within the embassy and had his own satellite internet access, according to documents and a source who wished to remain anonymous.” continues the paper

“By penetrating the embassy’s firewall, Assange was able to access and intercept the official and personal communications of staff,”

Wikileaks denied Assange had hacked the embassy network.

In response, Ecuador has forbidden internet access for Assange in recent months with the installation of a jammer, the Government as also restricted the number of visitors he can receive.

“Assange claims the accusations were politically motivated and could lead to him being extradited to the United States to face imprisonment over WikiLeaks’ publication of secret US military documents and diplomatic cables in 2010.” reported the AFP agency.

“Ecuador in December made Assange an Ecuadoran citizen and unsuccessfully tried to register him as a diplomat with immunity as part of its efforts to have him leave the embassy without risk of being detained.”

Last year, Sweden dropped its investigation on Assange, but the British authorities still plan to arrest him for breaching his bail conditions.

[adrotate banner=”9″] [adrotate banner=”12″]

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Julian Assange, hacking)

[adrotate banner=”5″]

[adrotate banner=”13″]

Pierluigi Paganini

Pierluigi Paganini is member of the ENISA (European Union Agency for Network and Information Security) Threat Landscape Stakeholder Group and Cyber G7 Group, he is also a Security Evangelist, Security Analyst and Freelance Writer. Editor-in-Chief at "Cyber Defense Magazine", Pierluigi is a cyber security expert with over 20 years experience in the field, he is Certified Ethical Hacker at EC Council in London. The passion for writing and a strong belief that security is founded on sharing and awareness led Pierluigi to find the security blog "Security Affairs" recently named a Top National Security Resource for US. Pierluigi is a member of the "The Hacker News" team and he is a writer for some major publications in the field such as Cyber War Zone, ICTTF, Infosec Island, Infosec Institute, The Hacker News Magazine and for many other Security magazines. Author of the Books "The Deep Dark Web" and “Digital Virtual Currency and Bitcoin”.

Recent Posts

Turla APT used two new backdoors to infiltrate a European ministry of foreign affairs

Russia-linked Turla APT allegedly used two new backdoors, named Lunar malware and LunarMail, to target…

6 hours ago

City of Wichita disclosed a data breach after the recent ransomware attack

The City of Wichita disclosed a data breach after the ransomware attack that hit the…

14 hours ago

CISA adds D-Link DIR router flaws to its Known Exploited Vulnerabilities catalog

CISA adds two D-Link DIR-600 and DIR-605 router vulnerabilities to its Known Exploited Vulnerabilities catalog. The…

17 hours ago

CISA adds Google Chrome zero-days to its Known Exploited Vulnerabilities catalog

CISA adds two Chrome zero-day vulnerabilities to its Known Exploited Vulnerabilities catalog. The U.S. Cybersecurity…

18 hours ago

North Korea-linked Kimsuky APT attack targets victims via Messenger

North Korea-linked Kimsuky APT group employs rogue Facebook accounts to target victims via Messenger and deliver malware.…

20 hours ago

Electronic prescription provider MediSecure impacted by a ransomware attack

Electronic prescription provider MediSecure in Australia suffered a ransomware attack likely originate from a third-party…

1 day ago

This website uses cookies.