Exclusive: A Cyber Mercenary Is Hacking The Google And Telegram Accounts Of Presidential Candidates, Journalists And Doctors
A stakeout in digital investigations looks very different to the traditional images of sleuths camped out in blacked-out vans. Just ask Netherlands-based cybersecurity researcher Feike Hacquebord, who’d spent some months behind his computer screen tracking the activities of a hacker-for-hire crew called RocketHack when, in October 2020, he had a slice of luck. Data collected by his employer, Trend Micro, pointed to a web page used by RocketHack to monitor its victims. Requiring no password to enter, it effectively gave him a shop floor view of a bustling hacker-for-hire operation.
The breakthrough led to the discovery that, for the last four years, the Russian-speaking RocketHack crew has quietly infiltrated email and Telegram accounts, PCs and Android phones of as many as 3,500 individuals. The targets range from journalists, human right activists, and politicians through to telecommunication engineers and IVF doctors across a few dozen clinics, according to Hacquebord.