Two arrested in Italy for cyber-spying on ECB's Draghi, former PM Renzi

2017-01-10 15:39:39 GMT2017-01-10 23:39:39(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

ROME, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Two people were arrested in Italy on Tuesday for allegedly spying on top public officials and institutions, the Italian police said.

President of the European Central Bank (ECB) Mario Draghi and former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi were among those put under illegal cyber surveillance, according to media reports.

The two people arrested were a nuclear engineer and his sister, respectively aged 45 and 49. They officially lived in London, but were domiciled in the Italian capital. Both were charged with procurement of information concerning state security, illegal access to computer systems and illicit interception of telematics communication, the police said in a statement.

The investigation was run by the National Cyber Crime unit ((CNAIPIC) of Italy's Postal and Communication Police, and coordinated by prosecutors in Rome. The probe was called "Eye Pyramid" by the name of a malware allegedly used by the suspects in their cyber-spying, according to investigators.

The pair was well known within Rome's financial circles, Ansa news agency also reported. The police discovered and raided a private center, where the siblings allegedly run their activity, and collected sensitive information and data gathered along years of spying. A database containing more than 18,300 usernames was among the findings.

Among those targeted by the hacking were Italian top officials, entrepreneurs, professionals, union officials, state agencies, and public authorities, including former governor of Italy's Central Bank Fabrizio Saccomanni, the former head of the Italian finance police, and several figures from across the political spectrum, Ansa said.

According to his professional profile published on business network Linkedin, the man arrested was co-founder (with his sister) and managing director of the Westlands Securities, a private company operating in investment banking, and headquarters in the central Piazza Navona in Rome.

Sensitive information collected by the pair were stored on two servers in the United States, which were seized with the help of the Cyber Division of the FBI, the Italian police said.