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Siblings arrested in Italy's worst cyberespionage operation ever

By Andrea Grassi | Jan. 13, 2017
Brother-and-sister team allegedly attacked at least 18,000 high-profile government and corporate PCs, using the Pyramid Eye malware and an international network of servers

The real purpose and potential accomplices or mastermind of the criminal activity are still unknown. Judge Maria Paola Tommaselli, who charged the two siblings for felonies such as abusive intrusion in computer systems, abusive eavesdropping, and procurement of information regarding national security, is implying other people may be involved.

Four of the email addresses used for data exfiltration were linked to a criminal case in 2011, in which a covert and potentially subversive organization was creating dossiers on politicians and managers. Giulio and Francesca Maria Occhionero also are members of the board in a construction company linked to an investigation of organized crime activities in Rome.

Judging by the targets, mostly in financial and Freemason environments, the two probably wanted to use the obtained information to gain insider information for Westland Securities' business and raise Giulio Occhionero's profile in the Freemasons. Giulio and Francesca Maria Occhionero's lawyers denied any wrongdoing, asserting that the server network was only used for business purposes.

Andrea Grassi is the editor of Computerworld Italy. You can follow him on Twitter (@andreagrassi) or connect via LinkedIn.

 

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