Security Firm Hack Shows Mexican Government Buying Hacking Software

mx_hackingThis weekend, the security firm, Hacking Team, based in Italy was hacked and its data posted online. Hacking Team has been notorious in the technology sector for producing and selling hacking tools to various governments. Although it has previously denied working with repressive governments in the past, the company’s data exposed by the hackers shows that the Italian company has worked with the governments it has previously denied working for.

In additional to working with repressive governments, the Hacking Team has sold its hacking products to United States agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). What is most disconcerting for me is that the company’s data shows that its largest customer has been the Mexican government, both at the federal and the state levels.

According to a client list spreadsheet for 2015, Hacking Team has provided hacking software to the Secretaria de Gobernación (SEGOB), which has CISEN, Mexico’s version of the FBI and Secret Service combined. SEGOB has been a client since 2010, spending about 1.3 million Euros for the software service. The last payment was made last January.

In addition, Estado de Mexico, the State of Mexico has been a client since 2012. The States of Queretaro (2013), Puebla (2013), Durango (2014), Tamaulipas (2014), Jalisco (2014) and Campeche (2013) are also clients. The government oil conglomerate, PEMEX is also a client. It too started buying the services in 2013, making the latest payment in March 2015.

The States of Nayarit and Sonora are listed as potential clients for future sales.

The Policía Federal (2010), the Federal Police and the Mexican Navy (2011) are listed as previous clients.

The Mexican government entities have spent at least 5.8 million Euros, out of the 41.8 Euros the hacking company forecasted for 2015.

This is a developing story and as I have time to digest the 40GB of data the hackers have exposed, including emails, invoices and software code I will be sharing some context for you in regards to the Mexican components.

For now, it is important to understand how much the Mexican government has spent on a notorious hacking software company to buy hacking tools whose only function is to hack into computers, smart phones and email accounts in order to spy.

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