Spies for hire exploit Telstra-owned Pacific mobile network

Telstra-owned mobile operator in the Pacific Islands likely used by spy firms to track people worldwide and steal data, cybersecurity analysis shows.
06 September 2023
Image by CyberBeat

Private spy firms have likely used a Telstra-owned mobile phone operator in the Pacific Islands to track and steal data from people across the world, according to cybersecurity analysis. 

Digicel Pacific, which was recently acquired by Telstra, appears to have been exploited to target unsuspecting mobile phone users in Africa. This type of attack is often used by spy-for-hire operations and state actors. 

The University of Toronto's Citizen Lab conducted the analysis and shared it with the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the ABC. 

This raises concerns, as Telstra's purchase of Digicel Pacific was financed with over $2 billion from the Australian government due to fears of Chinese spying in the region. 

However, it seems that Telstra also has to face security threats from for-profit surveillance companies. These companies, typically based in the West, market their services to governments for tracking criminals and terrorists. 

Unfortunately, they are often used to spy on journalists, activists, and political dissidents, as previous reports have shown.

- CyberBeat


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