Who's watching the watchers? Experts expose wide spying abilities of law enforcement hackers

Malicious software expert Sergey Golovanov of Kaspersky Lab, speaks during a “cyber self-defense course” hosted by his firm on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, in east London. Kaspersky and University of Toronto-based Citizen Lab are publishing reports detailing work by Hacking Team, an Italian cyber surveillance company that are helping law enforcement agencies across the globe take a page out of the cybercriminal handbook by using targets’ own phones and computers to spy on them with methods traditionally associated with the world's most malicious hackers.

Malicious software expert Sergey Golovanov of Kaspersky Lab speaks during a cyber self-defense course on June 24. Cybersecurity firms like Kaspersky Lab are beginning to publish reports that detail the software used by law enforcement agencies across the globe to fight malicious hackers.

Associated Press + More

By RAPHAEL SATTER, Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Two computer security groups say law enforcement agencies are taking a page out of the cybercriminal handbook, using targets' own phones and computers to spy on them with methods traditionally associated with the world's most malicious hackers.

The reports about the Italian firm Hacking Team expose a global network of malicious software implants operated by police and spy agencies in dozens of countries.

The reports Tuesday help complete the picture of state-sanctioned surveillance sketched by Edward Snowden's revelations about the National Security Agency and its international allies.

While Snowden's revelations dealt with the mass monitoring of communication, Hacking Team brags about more aggressive forms of monitoring that let authorities turn people's phones and laptops into eavesdropping tools.

Hacking Team did not return several messages seeking comment.

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