PF arrests “TSE hackers” in Brazil and Portugal

This Saturday (28), the Federal Police launched Operation Exploit with the objective of arresting the members of the hacker group Cyberteam, who assumed responsibility for the attacks on databases and servers of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) on November 15, date of the first round of Elections 2020.

The hackers leaked data from the TSE’s human resources department and would also have carried out a DDoS attack on the institution’s servers that prevented the e-Título from working properly on the date when it would be most useful to voters.

Three terms of arrest and search and seizure were fulfilled in São Paulo and Minas Gerais, and another in Portugal, with support from local authorities. The leader of the group, a Portuguese citizen known as “Zambrius”, said in an interview with Estadão before being arrested that he is not a criminal: “I am a good person”, he said.

According to Estadão sources, Zambrius was the hacker arrested in Portugal, but there is still no information on what the possible penalties for the criminal would be, considering that he is not a Brazilian citizen. Zambrius would have been arrested on other occasions for hacking attacks on other institutions and was prohibited from leaving the house, even wearing an electronic anklet.

To Estadão, 19-year-old Zambrius said he was not paid by anyone to attack the TSE and that his intention was simply to reveal the vulnerabilities of the Brazilian institution, having no political party motives. Still, the attack helped fuel conspiracy theories and spread false news about the legitimacy of the 2020 elections, as well as electronic voting machines. Defeated candidates took advantage of the situation to publicly question the election, even without any indication that the vote count was compromised

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