When Grey Heron surfaced this month selling anti-Signal and anti-Telegram surveillance tools at a UK trade show for cyber-arms-dealers, sharp-eyed journalists at Motherboard immediately noticed that the company's spokesman was last seen fronting for Hacking Team, a disgraced Italian cyber-arms-dealer that provided surveillance weapons to some of the world's cruelest dictators.
Grey Heron's links don't stop at their spokesjerk — they staffed up by recruiting technical staff orphaned by the collapse of Hacking Team, merging them with cyber-arms developers from other firms.
Grey Heron may even just be a rebranded version of Hacking Team; a Saudi businessman just bought Hacking Team and infused cash into it, and an ex-Hacking Team source told Motherboard that it would "make sense to use a different name to continue to sell to those clients who weren't happy after the hack."
"Except those customers who don't care because they buy spyware without thinking twice," the former employee, who had no direct knowledge of Grey Heron, told Motherboard. "I imagine that there's a lot of them who don't see Hacking Team favorably anymore, including the reselling partners, perhaps even more so than the final customers."
Grey Heron has said privately that the Italian government has given the company permission to export its products throughout the European Union, and that Grey Heron has particular interest in selling to European and North American clients.
New Spyware Company 'Grey Heron' Is Linked to Hacking Team [Joseph Cox and Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai/Motherboard]