Well this is a mess. Hacking Team, the Milan-based IT company that provides governments and law enforcement agencies with intrusive digital spying tools, have themselves been hacked. The hack happened a few days ago and around 400GB of data was stolen. Among that data, we now know, was a Flash exploit that has since been weaponized and released into the Wilds of the Internet.

The fact that it was weaponized so quickly is likely because there were detailed instructions on how to do just that. Remember, this is what Hacking Team does, those instructions were simply meant for a potential buyer, not a thief.

What does this mean for you? It means you need to be extremely careful with your Internet browsing until Adobe releases a patch for Flash. Worst case scenario, if you go to the wrong website, you could be hit with a cryptolocker that could actually lock up your machine and make it unusable. There’s a patch supposedly coming tomorrow, but until then go to How-To Geek and either disable your Flash plug-in or at least make it “click-to-play.”

There are people out there who think that Hacking Team shouldn’t exist because they’re willing to sell spying programs to less-than-ethical governments and this latest incident certainly isn’t going to win them any new fans.

As always, when it comes to Internet security, you can avoid most danger by simply browsing smartly and sticking to sites you either trust or come from a trusted source.

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