Friday, March 10, 2017

Famed Hacker Emails Source, Says Spanish Police Never Arrested Him

Spain’s Policia Nacional, in late January and early February, arrested three suspected hackers for hacks that targeted two spyware-for-hire companies. Both companies, Hacking Team and Gamma International created and sold malware, spyware, and communication interception tools to law enforcement—exclusively—for years on end. In 2015 and 2014, a hacker breached both companies. One hacker, Phineas Fisher, claimed responsibility for the hacks and data dumps. After local media started publishing news of the arrest, rumours spread that one of the arrested individuals was none other than Phineas Fisher.

The National Police arrested two individuals in Barcelona, Spain, and one 33-year-old man in Salamanca. News outlets in Spain quickly reported that the man from Salamanca was Phineas Fisher, the hacker behind both the Hacking Team and Gamma International breaches.

Gamma International sells one of the most advanced forms of government-used interception sites on the market today: FinFisher Suite. The site of hacking tools contains Trojans capable of infecting an entire internet cafe to scope out every user connected to the network. The malware installed by the FinFisher Suite is though, if not impossible to remove one it’s logged its way into both mobile devices and desktop computers.

Phineas Fisher leaked information from the Hacking Team in 2015 but the breach carried a less significant impact. Gamma International, at the time of the 2014 breach, already faced scrutiny from the media and non-cooperative law enforcement.

Just hours after the arrest and claims made by local news outlets, an entity using Phineas Fisher’s email address sent an email to an unnamed source who, in turn, sent the email to Motherboard. The entity wrote, “I think the Mossos just arrested some people that retweeted the link to their personal info, or maybe just arrested some activist/anarchist people to pretend they are doing something.” Presumably, according to news updates across the web, Fisher is alive and well—and free. Only time will tell.