Citizen Lab: NIS Asked for KakaoTalk Bugging Function

Write : 2015-07-30 18:41:00 Update : 2015-07-30 18:42:25

Citizen Lab: NIS Asked for KakaoTalk Bugging Function

New allegations have emerged that the South Korean state intelligence agency requested Italian spyware vendor Hacking Team to include a wiretapping function for the KakaoTalk texting application in its software purchase .

At the National Assembly on Thursday, the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy held a video conference with the Citizen Lab, a Canada-based research team that first raised the allegations that the NIS purchased a hacking program.

During the video conferencing, Bill Marczak, a research fellow at Citizen Lab, said that an NIS employee asked the spyware company if wiretapping into KakaoTalk was possible with its purchase of the Remote Control System (RCS) hacking program.

Based on an analysis of emails exchanged between Hacking Team officials, the NIS employee was further cited as expressing hope for a wiretapping function for KakaoTalk.

Marczak, however, said his lab does not know whether the Italian firm actually supplied the NIS with the requested function.

The Citizen Lab official said the NIS also expressed interest in real-time monitoring of communication records via mobile service providers such as SK Telecom.

He said the NIS also used the term "real target" for spyware installations, but noted there is zero possibility of the Hacking Team possessing NIS log files.

The software expert added that the Hacking Team does not appear to have sold the program to North Korea, and that the NIS never requested an exclusive capability for North Korea hacking purposes. 

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