Journal d'investigation en ligne
par Antoine Champagne - kitetoa

Eric Mohammed Said Rabe al-Sahhaf, chargé des relations presse de Hacking Team

Eric Rabe, chargé des relations avec la presse chez Hacking Team L'affaire Hacking Team nous permet de replonger au coeur d'une problématique vieille comme la presse : les rapports entre les journalistes et les communicants. Le discours de l'entreprise n'est qu'une vérité. Celle de l'entreprise. Elle reflète le monde tel que le voit l'entreprise. Pas tel qu'il est. Le journaliste, de son côté, tente de montrer le monde tel qu'il est.

Eric Rabe, chargé des relations avec la presse chez Hacking Team

L'affaire Hacking Team nous permet de replonger au coeur d'une problématique vieille comme la presse : les rapports entre les journalistes et les communicants. Le discours de l'entreprise n'est qu'une vérité. Celle de l'entreprise. Elle reflète le monde tel que le voit l'entreprise. Pas tel qu'il est. Le journaliste, de son côté, tente de montrer le monde tel qu'il est. Mais comment savoir à quoi ressemble le vrai monde intérieur d'une entreprise si celle-ci fait tout pour en interdire l'accès ? A part trouver une source au sein de Hacking Team, c'était un peu compliqué. La mise à disposition de tous les mails de l'entreprise permet de se faire une idée de ce que les salariés, patron et chargé des relations avec la presse en tête, faisaient lorsqu'ils étaient en relation avec un journaliste. Ils tentaient de l'enfumer.

Ce n'est pas une nouveauté. C'est un peu le rôle des chargés des relations avec la presse dans toutes les entreprises. Faire passer une vision biaisée de la réalité qui fait apparaitre l'entreprise sous son meilleur jour. Dans ce cas, on peut raisonnablement s'intéresser sur l'intérêt pour un journaliste de donner systématiquement, comme une sorte de bonne pratique, la parole à une entreprise lorsqu'il écrit à son propos. Quel intérêt pour le lecteur ? Limité. Mais au delà du rôle d'enfumage, tous les chargés des relations avec la presse n'ont pas le même mépris de leurs interlocuteurs que celui des salariés de Hacking Team.

C'est le point qui ressort le plus des échanges de mails entre Eric Rabe, responsable des relations avec la presse, et les dirigeants de Hacking Team.

Parmi les icônes des relations presse, il y a eu le ministre de l'information de Saddam Hussein, Mohammed Said al-Sahhaf. Il y a désormais Eric Rabe.  Le premier déclarait encore sans rire que les soldats américains se suicidaient aux portes de Bagdad alors que ceux-ci patrouillaient déjà dans les rues de la ville. Le second affirmait sans rire que sa société faisait très attention à l'usage de ses produits et pouvait en bloquer l'usage si ses enquêteurs relevaient des atteintes aux Droits de l'Homme. Dans le même temps, la société s'interrogeait sur la nécessité de se séparer de son client éthiopien qui avait été repéré par Citizen Lab en train de pirater les moyens de communication d'un journaliste opposant résident aux Etats-Unis. Ce questionnement ne résultait pas de l'usage indu de leur produit mais sur le fait que cela nuisait à l'image de Hacking Team...

Voici quelques échanges qui permettent de se rendre compte de l'état d'esprit des dirigeants de Hacking Team vis-à-vis des journalistes.

Lorsqu'un journaliste suisse contacte Hacking Team pour obtenir sa position, le patron David Vincenzetti, renvoie un mail lapidaire :

We will ignore this request.

David

David Vincenzetti CEO

Hacking Team Milan Singapore Washington DC www.hackingteam.com

email: d.vincenzetti@hackingteam.com mobile: +39 3494403823 phone: +39 0229060603

On Nov 19, 2013, at 11:14 AM, Bagnato, Riccardo (RSI) <Riccardo.Bagnato@rsi.ch> wrote:

Dear Mr Rabe,

My name is Riccardo Bagnato, Swiss Public TV.

We wish we could have an interview with someone at Hacking Team in Milan. We could reach the society in an hour almost, but we need to know  whether it’s possible asap cos. The report focus is today’s news: https://www.privacyinternational.org/sii I talked already to someone at Hacking team who told me to talk to you first.

You can reach me at: 0041-091 803 6298

Thx Riccardo Bagnato

Lorsqu'un journaliste israélien contacte Hacking Team, le patron a toujours sa réponse lapidaire :

I vote for dropping this one.

David

David Vincenzetti CEO

Hacking Team Milan Singapore Washington DC www.hackingteam.com

email: d.vincenzetti@hackingteam.com mobile: +39 3494403823 phone: +39 0229060603

Begin forwarded message:

From: אביב מזרחי <aviv-mi@ynet.co.il> Subject: a questions about a hacking team services Date: July 1, 2014 at 12:04:19 PM GMT+2 To: "'info@hackingteam.com'" <info@hackingteam.com> Cc: אהוד קינן <ehud@ynet.co.il>, "'avivmiz@gmail.com'" <avivmiz@gmail.com>

Hello, My name is Aviv Mizrahi, Im writing for ynet.co.il about tech. I have several questions about your company.

  1. In the article by Citizen Lab and Kaspersky they are saying that some of the people that were surveillanced using your product and services, were journalists and acticvists etc.   ("The list of victims indicated in the new research, conducted by Kaspersky Lab together with its partner Citizen Lab, includes activists and human rights advocates, as well as journalists and politicians"). Would you like to comment about that?

  2. They implied about a list of countries the surveillance took place. Can you approve or deny this list?

NEW ZEALAND PERU INDONESIA BRAZIL BOLIVIA ARGENTINA RUSSIAN FEDERATION INDIA HONG KONG AUSTRALIA SPAIN SAUDI ARABIA MALAYSIA ITALY GERMANY FRANCE EGYPT UKRAINE THAILAND SWEDEN SINGAPORE ROMANIA PARAGUAY MOROCCO LITHUANIA KENYA JAPAN IRELAND HUNGARY DENMARK CZECH REPUBLIC CYPRUS BELGIUM AZER

  1. Are these screenshots taken from your control programs of the implants?

https://citizenlab.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/7\_RCS\_Config.png https://citizenlab.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/14\_RCS\_Map.png https://citizenlab.org/2014/06/backdoor-hacking-teams-tradecraft-android-implant

thank you!

 

Eric Rabe se félicite lorsque les journalistes reprennent ses arguments:

Da: Eric Rabe <ericrabe@me.com> Oggetto: Hacking Team story in AP Data: 25 giugno 2014 00:22:03 CEST A: David Vincenzetti <d.vincenzetti@hackingteam.it>, Giancarlo Russo <g.russo@hackingteam.it>, media <media@hackingteam.it> Cc: fredd0104 <fredd0104@aol.com>

This story appeared before my last email exchange with Raphael Satter.  This story is updated with information I provided, but the author left in (unfortunately and I think by mistake) a line that says we didn’t return “messages seeking comment.”  Nonetheless, the report includes points I made and information from our customer policy page.

Best,

Eric

Eric Rabe

Ces arguments sont quasiment identiques à chaque fois qu'un journaliste pointe un client potentiel de Hacking Team fâché avec les Droits de l'Homme, comme l'Arabie saoudite : circulez, il n'y a rien à voir. Il est établi aujourd'hui que l'Arabie saoudite est un client de Hacking Team :

From: Eric Rabe <e.rabe@hackingteam.com> Subject: Your inquiry: Saudi Arabia: Malicious Spyware App Identified - contatti hacking team Date: June 30, 2014 at 7:46:45 PM GMT+2 To: <Luciana.Borsatti@ansa.it>

Hi, Luciana,

I am Eric Rabe, Chief Communications Executive at Hacking Team.

As a matter of company policy, we do not disclose either the identities or the location of clients because they rely on confidentiality in conducting their investigations.   However, here is a statement from Hacking Team regarding the recent Citizen’s Lab report.

Statement on Citizen’s Lab/Kaspersky report of June 24, 2014:

Hacking Team is aware of the ongoing efforts of Citizen’s Lab to attack our business by attempting to disclose confidential information, systems, and procedures that we use.  This report is only their latest effort.  It is evident that the primary complaint of the authors is about repressive government, however, Citizen’s Lab has chosen to target a private business operating in full compliance with all relevant law.

We believe the software we provide is essential for law enforcement and for the safety of us all in an age when terrorists, drug dealers, sex traffickers and other criminals routinely use the Internet and mobile communications to carry out their crimes.  We sell only to government agencies such as police forces.  We do not conduct digital investigations.  Those are carried out by law enforcement and are, of course, entirely confidential as is any law enforcement investigation.

The June 24 report does not include our customer policy, however, we invite you to read the policy which describes the steps we take to avoid abuse of our software.  We believe this policy is unique in our industry and a strong, good-faith effort to prevent misuse of our products.  We have both refused to do business with agencies we felt might misuse our software, and we have investigated cases either discovered internally or reported in the press that suggest abuse.  We can and have taken action in such cases, however, we consider the results of our investigations and the actions we take based on them to be confidential matters between us and our clients.

#

For the same reason that we do not disclose customer identities, we do not confirm or describe any investigation we might undertake on the basis of questions being raised about possible use of our software.   I understand this does not answer your questions, but I hope you will accept our position that HT operates with a high ethical standard and that we take our customer policy very seriously.

Best, Eric

Eric Rabe Hacking Team ______________________________________________

tel: 215-839-6639 mobile: 215-913-4761 Skype: ericrabe1 erabe@hackingteam.com

-------- Original Message -------- Subject:    I: Saudi Arabia: Malicious Spyware App Identified - contatti hacking team Date:    Mon, 30 Jun 2014 17:11:42 +0200 From:    Borsatti Luciana <Luciana.Borsatti@ansa.it> To:    <media@hackingteam.it> CC:    <media@hackingteam.com>

Buon pomeriggio.

Sono una giornalista dell’Ansa e ho letto con interesso il testo di Human Rigths Watch che vi inoltro con questa mail.

Mi chiedevo se potete confermare di aver fornito al governo saudita la tecnologia di cui si parla nel testo. Inoltre, in caso di risposta positiva, se abbiate già verificato le circostanze segnalate da Citizen Lab e Human Rights Watch,  in accordo con i principi dichiarati dalla vostra Customer Policy, o se intendiate farlo in futuro.

In attesa di cortese e tempestiva risposta, distinti saluti

Luciana Borsatti Tel. +39 06 6774241/4244 Fax +39 06 6774294 Cell +39 334 6052405

Via della Dataria, 94 00187 - Roma

www.ansa.it www.ansamed.info

Quand un journaliste du Guardian écrit à Hacking Team, le patron tente de botter en touche, mais malin, Eric Rabe lui signale que quand même, Le Guardian, il faudrait peut-être éviter de les envoyer sur les roses:

OK.

David

David Vincenzetti CEO

Hacking Team Milan Singapore Washington DC www.hackingteam.com

email: d.vincenzetti@hackingteam.com mobile: +39 3494403823 phone: +39 0229060603

On Jan 23, 2014, at 2:25 PM, Eric Rabe <ericrabe@me.com> wrote:

Since it is The Guardian, I would not ignore this one.   We can point him to our policy, at least.  Let me draft a brief note.

Eric

Eric Rabe ericrabe@me.com 215-913-4761

On Jan 23, 2014, at 4:45 AM, David Vincenzetti <d.vincenzetti@hackingteam.com> wrote:

I would ignore this as well. Eric, what is your point?

David

David Vincenzetti CEO

Hacking Team Milan Singapore Washington DC www.hackingteam.com

email: d.vincenzetti@hackingteam.com mobile: +39 3494403823 phone: +39 0229060603

Begin forwarded message:

From: Thomas Brewster <tbthomasbrewster@gmail.com> Subject: Press Enquiry - Hacking Team Date: January 23, 2014 at 9:34:46 AM GMT+1 To: <info@hackingteam.com>, <eric.rabe@hackingteam.com>

Hello,

Doing a piece for the Guardian on government use of exploits. Got some things I have to ask, deadline of 11am tomorrow morning:

Le journaliste du Guardian qui pose les bonnes questions se retrouve avec le même genre de discours généré avec un Bulshit Generator :

A well advised reply.

Thanks,

David

David Vincenzetti CEO

Hacking Team Milan Singapore Washington DC www.hackingteam.com

email: d.vincenzetti@hackingteam.com mobile: +39 3494403823 phone: +39 0229060603

On Jan 24, 2014, at 8:10 PM, eric <eric@hackingteam.com> wrote:

Turns out he has a whole list of places where HT has been “spotted.”  Whatever that means.  FYI, again, I am not responding to his follow ups and if he presists, I’ll send him a note saying:

As you know, confidentiality is critical if our clients are to be able to successfully perform their investigations.  We do not divulge either client names or locations.  I’m sorry not to be able to respond to your further questions.

Have a great weekend,

Eric

Eric Rabe _________________________________________________________ tel: 215-839-6639 mobile: 215-913-4761 Skype: ericrabe1 eric@hackingteam.com

Begin forwarded message:

From: Thomas Brewster <tbthomasbrewster@gmail.com> Subject: Re: Your request of Hacking team Date: January 24, 2014 at 5:43:45 AM EST To: Eric Rabe <e.rabe@hackingteam.com>

Also, what customers have you stopped serving because of concerns around human rights violations?

Other countries where HT has been spotted: Mexico, Columbia, Azerbaijan, Kazahkstan, Uzbekistan, Oman, Sudan, Malaysia, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Morocco.

Any comment on any of that and the previous email?

On Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 5:24 PM, Thomas Brewster <tbthomasbrewster@gmail.com> wrote: Hi Eric,

Those blacklists mentioned in the customer statement - what are they? Can I see them? I've never seen or heard of them...

Also, I have evidence HackingTeam kit has been used in Ethiopia and a number of other countries with poor human rights records. Any response on that? Will have more info for you on that soon.

Thanks

Tom

On Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 3:03 PM, Eric Rabe <e.rabe@hackingteam.com> wrote:

To:  Thomas Brewster, The Guardian

As I’m sure you expect, we can only partially answer your questions.

You probably know that, because we recognize the potential for abuse, we sell our products only to governments or government agencies.  Our statement of our customer policies explains some of the steps we take to assure that our products are used in a responsible way by our clients and do not fall into the hands of others.

Specifically, to your questions:

  1. Has your code been seen used in attacks on US, UK or other western entities?

Our code is used in legitimate security investigations in countries around the world.  Targets include criminals such as narcotics traffickers or terrorist organizations.  However, to assure the confidentiality of investigations, we cannot identify our clients or their locations.

  1. Why have VUPEN exploits been seen working alongside Hacking Team malware to infect machines in non-NATO countries?

Hacking Team and VUPEN are separate companies providing different types of services and solutions.  Clients of our may also be clients of theirs, of course, since we operate in the same ecosystem.

  1. Do you work with other surveillance providers? If so, who and how?

Hacking Team is an independent company.  Our products are not “resold” by others or available on a wholesale basis.  We take measures to assure that the software cannot be duplicated and distributed beyond our intended client.

  1. What will you be doing at the ISS conference?

We attend dozens of trade shows including ISS each year to demonstrate the features of our products to potential clients in the security industry.  Again, we sell exclusively to government agencies.

  1. How do you stop your tools ending up in countries with poor human rights records or who are on export control lists?

Check our customer statement that I referenced above for a discussion of this issue.

Hope that helps,

Eric

Eric Rabe _________________________________________________________ tel: 215-839-6639 mobile: 215-913-4761 Skype: ericrabe1

eric@hackingteam.com

Thomas Brewster Technology, literature and culture writer

BT Security Journalist of the Year 2012 and 2013

Website: tombjournalist.com Tel: +442032902449 Mob: +44 7837496820 Twitter: @iblametom Skype: thomas_s_brewster

-- Thomas Brewster Technology, literature and culture writer

BT Security Journalist of the Year 2012 and 2013

Website: tombjournalist.com Tel: +442032902449 Mob: +44 7837496820 Twitter: @iblametom Skype: thomas_s_brewster

 

Quand le journaliste du Guardian lui parle de l'Ethiopie, les deux zozos de la communication (le patron et Eric Rabe) font mine de ne pas savoir de quoi on leur parle  :

Ethiopia? Me neither.

OK, let’s do not respond to further inquiries.

Thanks,

David

David Vincenzetti CEO

Hacking Team Milan Singapore Washington DC www.hackingteam.com

email: d.vincenzetti@hackingteam.com mobile: +39 3494403823 phone: +39 0229060603

On Jan 24, 2014, at 2:58 PM, eric <eric@hackingteam.com> wrote:

As expected, Brewster responds.  I’ll ignore this one.  But Ethiopia??  I don’t think I’ve heard of that accusation.

Best,

Eric

Eric Rabe

Pourtant, l'entreprise Hacking Team vend bien à l'Ethiopie...

Lorsque Bruce Schneier écrit que Hacking Team vendra à qui veut lui acheter, le patron de Hacking Team David Vincenzetti s'offusque des attaques de cet "activiste radical de gauche":

ACTUALLY, the following is blatantly FALSE :

"The cyberweapons manufacturer Hacking Team sells packet injection technology to any government willing to pay for it."

Obviously, we never behave this way. PLEASE check our customer policy at http://www.hackingteam.it/index.php/customer-policy .

[IT’S JUST TOO BAD that Bruce Schneier — once a brilliant cryptographer, now a radical leftwing activist — is exploiting the Big Brother is Watching You FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) phenomenon in order to sell his books, write quite self-promoting essays, give interviews, do consulting etc. and earn his hefty money — ALSO, it is clear that Mr. Schneier is deliberately ignoring the dramatically mutated geopolitical landscape and the clear and present menaces to our Nations, to our Security, to our Values.]

FYI, David

Le traitement du piratage de Hacking Team par Le Monde est symptomatique de cette tendance journalistique à donner la parole aux entreprises concernées par un article :

Les documents volés indiquent que l’entreprise aurait des partenariats commerciaux non seulement avec le Soudan, mais aussi avec les services de renseignement russes, ou encore le ministère de la défense et les renseignements saoudiens.

Hacking Team a toujours nié toute relation commerciale avec des gouvernements accusés de violation des droits de l’homme. « Nous faisons extrêmement attention à qui nous vendons nos produits. Nos investisseurs ont mis en place un comité légal qui nous conseille continuellement sur le statut de chaque pays avec lequel nous entrons en contact », assurait le PDG de Hacking Team, David Vincenzetti, dans une interview accordée en 2011 au journaliste Ryan Gallagher. « Le comité prend en compte les résolutions de l’ONU, les traités internationaux et les recommandations d’Human Rights Watch et d’Amnesty International », avait-il ajouté.

L’entreprise a vivement réagi à la publication des documents. « Nous n’avons rien à cacher sur nos activités et nous pensons qu’il n’y a aucune preuve dans ces 400 gigabits de données que nous avons violé une quelconque loi », a assuré le porte-parole de l’entreprise, Eric Rabe, dans une interview au site spécialisé IBTimes. Concernant les contrats de l’entreprise au Soudan, il a assuré que le document incriminé date d’avant les mesures de sanctions contre le pays décidées par les Nations Unies – sans préciser à quel train de sanctions il faisait référence.

Quelques balades dans les mails échangés au sein de l'entreprise auraient pourtant permis aux trois auteurs de l'article de contrebalancer sérieusement les affirmations de David Vincenzetti ou de Eric Mohammed Said Rabe al-Sahhaf...

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