Wednesday , 18 January 2017
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Italy Arrests Siblings Accused of Huge VIP Hacking Campaign

Police have arrested a brother-and-sister team suspected of conducting an ambitious, years-long campaign of hacking that targeted thousands of accounts belonging to some of the leading political and business figures in Italy.

The motive of the sprawling campaign, which carried Masonic overtones, remains a mystery. But those in the crosshairs included Matteo Renzi when he was Italian premier, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi and much of the cream of Italy’s elite.

“In the eight months we have been investigating, we haven’t registered any evidence of extortion activity, or attempts to (use hacked data) to obtain influence,” Roberto Di Legami, who directs the Italian national police division that specializes in combatting internet and other communications network crimes, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Tuesday.

Police said Tuesday that it was an assist from the FBI that helped cracked the “cyberespionage headquarters” and led to Monday’s arrests of Giulio Occhionero, 45, and his 49-year-old sister Francesca Maria Occhionero. They are being kept in isolation in two different jails in Rome, police said.

The two live in the Italian capital, where they are reportedly well known in the world of high finance. They also have a legal residence in London, where at one point they registered a securities company, Di Legami said.

Prosecutors’ requests for the arrest warrants alleged that the duo tried to hack into Renzi’s personal email twice in June, when he was still premier, and into Draghi’s email account once in June and again in July.

A person familiar with the matter said there was no indication any European Central Bank account was successfully breached. The person spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the matter.

Italian police were generous with praise for the FBI’s help. Di Legami said the FBI found the servers despite the suspect’s use of the…

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