Suspects Arrested in Brazen Hacking Attack on Italian Cyber Defence Firm with Links to NATO


Investigators had zeroed in on signs of unusual activity triggered by a malware program on several computers belonging to an Italian aerospace and electronics company that counts NATO among its customers.

Police in Italy have arrested two suspects in connection with the hacking of Italian aerospace and electronics company Leonardo, according to a statement by the Interior Ministry, cited by Reuters.

The Rome-based Leonardo group also has a cybersecurity division that boasts NATO as one of its customers, and is involved in making electronic weapons and missiles.

Apprehended on Saturday, the suspected hackers, said to be a former employee and a contractor, reportedly managed to steal sensitive data from the company’s computers between 2015 and 2017.

The information was stolen for “illicit goals which are still being investigated”, said the police.

Malware Attack

According to prosecutors, a former employee of the company had infected 94 computers with a specially-engineered Trojan virus from a USB stick at facilities in Pomigliano d’Arco near Naples and extracted “classified information of significant value to the company”.

The malware then infiltrated 94 machines belonging to IT departments of the company’s Aerostructures and Aircraft Divisions, including 33 situated at a factory in Pomigliano d’Arco.

According to the report, some 10 gigabytes of data, including management and human resources records, information…

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