An Italy based firm which makes surveillance software used by governments to tap into phones and computers had its data security compromised on Monday.
The company sells snooping tools to a number of governments all over the world, including the U.S. FBI.
The company ‘s Twitter account was also hijacked on Monday and used by hackers to release more than 400 gigabytes of the company’s internal documents, email correspondence, employee passwords and the underlying source code of its products.
“Since we have nothing to hide, we’re publishing all our emails, files and source code,” posts published on the company’s hijacked Twitter account said. The tweets were subsequently deleted.
Eric Rabe, the company spokesman confirmed the breach, adding that “law enforcement will investigate the illegal taking of proprietary company property.”
He acknowledged that the company was recommending that clients suspend use of the snooping programs until Hacking Team determines whether specific law enforcement operations have been exposed.
Among the documents published was a spreadsheet that purports to show the company’s active and inactive clients at the end of 2014 and it included police agencies in several European countries, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and police and state security organisations.
Among countries with records of human rights abuses, there was Egypt, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
The 12-year-old Hacking Team was named one of five private-sector “Corporate Enemies of the Internet” in a 2012 report by Reporters Without Borders.