Indian-based cyber company BellTroX InfoTech Services helped clients spy on over 10,000 email accounts, reported Reuters.
The firm offered its hacking services to clients to spy on email accounts throughout the world. Thousands of messages were sent to email accounts between 2013 and 2020, aiming to trick victims into surrendering their log-in details. Citizen Lab researcher John Scott-Railton called it the “largest spy-for-hire operations ever exposed” and that similar “cyber-mercenary” groups don’t receive the political attention they deserve because of the focus on state-sponsored espionage.
The company reportedly spied on European government officials, American investors, and gamblers in the Bahamas. Furthermore, they also targeted advocacy groups such as the digital rights organizations Free Press and Fight for the Future.
Founder of BellTroX, Sumit Gupta had already been charged in 2015 and declared a fugitive in 2017 when two American private investigators confessed that they paid him to hack hack the accounts of various marketing executives. Gupta rejected the allegations. However, the US has not been transparent about whether or not they’ve requested an extradition of Gupta, who lives in Delhi. Local Delhi police and the Indian foreign ministry reportedly did not comment when approached by Reuters.