Details on the hacking charges against Brazil’s Carla Zambelli | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

Far-right Congresswoman Carla Zambelli quarterbacked the hacking of the Judicial branch’s computer systems conducted by notorious hacker Walter Delgatti, according to charges filed by Prosecutor General Paulo Gonet on Monday.

The case is sealed, but Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes unsealed the charges on Tuesday. Both the congresswoman and the hacker were charged with hacking and fraud — both of which are aggravated because they conspired together.

According to the petition, Mr. Delgatti, under Ms. Zambelli’s guidance, hacked computer devices used by the Judicial branch “at least in the period between August 2022 and January 2023 (…) with the aim of tampering with information.”

Mr. Delgatti, who was arrested in August 2023, admitted to the Federal Police his responsibility for issuing a fraudulent arrest warrant against Justice Moraes with the justice’s own signature. He also said that Ms. Zambelli instructed him to hack Justice Moraes’ phone and email should he fail to hack an electronic voting machine. 

For the last few years, Justice Moraes has been the main target of the Brazilian far right’s vitriol. Since 2022, he has held the rotating presidency of the Superior Electoral Court, Brazil’s top electoral body. Mr. Gonet wrote in the petition that Ms. Zambelli “dedicated herself, at the time, to discredit the electronic electoral system,” and hence, discrediting a computer system used by the Judicial branch “would serve this purpose.”

Mr. Delgatti told lawmakers during the select committee on the January 8 riots that he was given a mission by then-President Jair Bolsonaro himself to discredit the electoral system. 

Last year, Mr. Delgatti was convicted to 20 years in prison in an unrelated case for hacking the phones and messaging apps of 126 people, several of them Brazilian officials related to the massive Car Wash anti-corruption taskforce. However, Mr. Delgatti’s credentials as one of the hackers responsible for this case attracted the attention of the far right.

The investigation into Mr. Delgatti’s relationship with Congresswoman Zambelli was initiated following a groundbreaking report by The Brazilian Report.

In early 2023, we uncovered that Mr. Delgatti was working for Ms. Zambelli. After initially denying any relationship with him, Ms. Zambelli admitted to it the following month. Subsequently, the Federal Police raided Ms. Zambelli’s offices and home, leading to Mr. Delgatti’s arrest for disrespecting court-mandated restrictions on internet use.

Ms. Zambelli’s lawyers claimed in a statement that “there is no evidence” against her, and that Mr. Delgatti is a “mythomaniac.” However, back in July 2022, she published a photo with him, both smiling. Weeks later, Mr. Delgatti was photographed entering the presidential residence — where he says he met with former President Jair Bolsonaro, to whom Ms. Zambelli is close.


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