why do Google and Apple have an Italian company in their sights?

Google and Apple point to spyware developed by RCS LAb and used on Android smartphones and iPhones. The tool is however officially described as a legal interception service made available to law enforcement.

Source: Franck on Unsplash

Do you remember the Pegasus case? In the summer of 2021, spyware developed by the Israeli firm NSO found itself in the spotlight and the fire of critics. Sold to 55 countries, the tool, presented as a dedicated product to be used by law enforcement in the context of their investigations, would in reality have mainly found itself embroiled in stories of assassination and disappearance.

Journalists, political opponents, activists, heads of state or government would thus have been spied on using the Pegasus software capable of infesting Android and iPhone smartphones. Apple had thus been particularly virulent and has also recently sued NSO.

Google and Apple against the Italian RCS LAB

The subject is eminently sensitive. However, now Google is launching a new alert, this time pointing the finger at an Italian company. The web giant accuses the RCS Lab group, based in Milan, of having developed spyware that can be installed on Android smartphones and iPhones. the spyware would have been used in Italy and Kazakhstan, according to Google.

The RCS Lab tool would spy on the messages and contact list of infested smartphones. It would also be able to read user passwords. Google explains that it has taken measures to block the spyware on Android and notify affected users. Apple made a similar statement for iPhones.

Ill-intentioned governments?

As pointed out Reutersβ€œ the global industry of manufacturing spyware for governments is growing and more and more companies are developing interception tools for law enforcement “. However, several elements tend to show that thesespywareused by some governments to suppress human rights.

These vendors enable the proliferation of dangerous hacking tools and arm governments that would not be able to develop these capabilities internally.β€œIs indignant a spokesperson for Google.

RCS Lab denies all charges

The American giant even thinks that the hackers who used the RCS LAB spyware sometimes worked in collaboration with the victims’ Internet service provider. In other words, Google suggests that some malicious hackers have links with governments.

RCS Lab, for its part, denies any illegal practices. The Italian firm also describes itself as a manufacturer of technologies and services “lawful interception“. The company prides itself on processing 10,000 intercepted targets per day in Europe.

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