Hackers based in India have been targeting businessmen, politicians and journalists according to the Sunday Times newspaper. But their traces lead to the City of London.
Sunday’s front page of the Times is graced by the revelation of a global hacking network uncovered by the newspaper itself in cooperation with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (Bureau of Investigative Journalism). As revealed, the illegal surveillance involved over 100 victims and was carried out on behalf of private detectives, who worked for totalitarian regimes, British lawyers and their wealthy clients.
The hackers were based in India, specifically the Gurugram region, which is considered one of the country’s best-known financial and technological regions. The mastermind of the gang is 31-year-old Aditya Jain, who actually worked in the Indian branch of the British auditor Deloitte in his morning job. The cases that came to light show that they were operating for at least seven years, while their name was WhiteInt.
How the City of London pulled the strings
The service offered by the hackers was “hack and hire”, something like “wiretapping on demand”, for an exorbitant fee of course. Leading British businessmen, politicians and journalists were targeted, while large London law firms gave orders for the surveillance.
Nevertheless, for some of the names that were targeted, it has not been clarified why they were being monitored and exactly how they exploited the information that was gathered. Of course, according to information from the newspaper’s investigative reporting, information was available for sale even in totalitarian regimes.
According to the mastermind of the gang, the surveillance lasted for a maximum of 30 days and focused on email interception, while the malware gave access to a camera and microphone.
Some of the names that stand out on the list of victims are: the BBC’s head of political reporting Chris Mason, Swiss President Ignazio Cassis, former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and former UEFA president Michel Platini.
As explained, for example, the president of Switzerland and the vice president began to be monitored after the meeting they had in Downing Street with Boris Johnson and Liz Truss to discuss the sanctions against Russia.
But the biggest political figure of wiretapping is Philip Hammond who served as finance minister from 2016 to 2019. Although the exact reason he was being monitored has not been clarified, Hammond was involved in the Brexit negotiations at the time. At the same time, he participated in the discussions about the assassination of Sergei Skripal.
And the World Cup in the target of wiretapping
The large number of interceptions related to the World Cup in Qatar is also causing a sensation.
Among others, journalists who tried to uncover the FIFA corruption scandal were monitored, as well as former UEFA president Michel Platini during the time he was accused of receiving funding from Qatar. Apparently, French authorities believe that Qatar was “concerned” about what Platini might say during the interrogations.
A wiretapping order is a criminal offense in Britain and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The case has already taken on political dimensions with former Prime Minister David Davies declaring that “the investigation reveals that London has become the world’s hacking centre”.
Source: News Beast
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