Items tagged with FBI

The Supreme Court approved a series of changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure by the United States Department of Justice that go into effect today. Those changes, which the DoJ proposed earlier this year and that were never discussed by Congress, gives the FBI permission to hack into multiple computer systems here and abroad with a just a single warrant in cases where they're part of a botnet or otherwise can't be traced to a precise location.Any U.S. judge can authorize such a warrant, including magistrate judges who typically only issue warrants within their own jurisdiction.... Read more...
The Federal Bureau of Investigation made a big deal out of Apple's unwillingness to help it crack a locked iPhone 5c handset that was used by a terrorist in the deadly San Bernardino shooting, but it turns out it rarely needs assistance. Nine of out ten times, the FBI is successful in its attempts to unlock a secured smartphone or laptop, the agency admitted to attendees at a public meeting on encryption. Jim Baker, General Counsel for the FBI, provided some interesting numbers for the public to digest. According to Baker, the FBI's forensic labs analyzed 6,814 phones and laptops from October 1,... Read more...
Less than two weeks before U.S. elections kick off on November 8th, the FBI has released a new bombshell that threatens to shakeup what has already been an almost circus-like campaign season. FBI Director James Comey, who is known more widely in the circles for his staunch criticism of Apple in the San Bernardino iPhone encryption case, just sent a letter to Congress informing them that there have been newly uncovered emails that are pertinent to the department’s investigation of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s personal email server. "In connection with an unrelated case, the... Read more...
The battle between the FBI and locked phones is far from over. The FBI is currently trying to crack into another locked iPhone that once belonged to a now deceased terrorist. The iPhone in question belonged to Dahir Adan, who stabbed ten people in a Minnesota mall before a police officer shot and killed him. ISIS has claimed credit for the attack over social media. FBI special agent Rich Thorton recently stated, “Dahir Adan’s iPhone is locked. We are in the process of assessing our legal and technical options to gain access to this device and the data it may contain.” It is unclear what what model... Read more...
It's come to light that a former contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA) was arrested back in August by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The agency suspects the contractor might have stolen and disclosed classified computer code developed by the NSA to hack into networks of governments around the world. And no, his name is not Edward Snowden, though he comes from the same consulting firm (Booz Allen Hamilton). The former contractor's name is Harold T. Martin III, a 51-year-old out of Glen Burnie, Maryland. He had already left the NSA and was working as a contractor for the Defense... Read more...
Security firm Cellebrite made headlines earlier this year when its services were employed by the FBI to help break into the phone of the San Bernardino shooter. Cellebrite recently invited a bunch of UK press to an event to show off what it's capable of.Equipped with an outdated smartphone, BBC reporter Rory Cellan-Jones went off for a half an hour, password-protected the device, and took pictures -- basically using the phone normally. You can see where this is going. Despite the password, Cellebrite plugged the phone into a bulky tablet, and after a few taps, the phone's security was disabled.... Read more...
Earlier this year, the FBI and Apple were embroiled in a bitter battle of words with regards to unlocking an iPhone 5c that was used by Syed Farook, one of two San Bernardino shooters. After much bluster on the part of FBI, and complete stonewalling from Apple, the FBI eventually went to a third-party vendor to bypass the iPhone 5c’s security protocols and obtain the data it was searching for. With the Freedom of Information Act on their side, three news organizations — the Associated Press, USA Today, and Vice Media — reached out to the FBI to obtain details on how the hack was carried out on... Read more...
Mark Zuckerberg, the billionaire whiz kid who created the most popular social networking site on the planet, puts tape on his system's webcams. While that might sound paranoid to some, it's a common privacy measure against hackers who might be trying to spy on you or your company. Zuckerberg is far from alone—James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), uses a piece of tape on his personal laptop's webcam and recommends that everyone else does as well. "There's some sensible things you should be doing, and that's one of them," Comey said during a recent conference at... Read more...
Google has just reported that there were over 40,000 request for user data from the government between June and December 2015. Requests for user data has steadily increased since 2009, however this was the highest number yet. Google admitted that this number was not comprehensive. For example, the same Gmail account may be specified in several different requests for user information. Google also might receive a request for a user for account that does not exist at all.   It believes that these discrepancies do balance out. The statistics do cover all government entities that request user data.... Read more...
The HFS and HFS+ file systems have served Apple well for years, but it’s time to make a clean break from the past. That break from tradition is coming in the form of the Apple File System (APFS), which uses unified encryption to bolster the security of nearly every device that Apple makes. APFS has been in development for far too long to cite the FBI as the reason for its arrival, but we’re sure that the agency is by no means happy about its existence. Apple explains the need for APFS by writing: HFS+ and its predecessor HFS are more than 30 years old. These file systems were developed in an era... Read more...
The FBI is determined to gain access to any and all electronic information from targeted devices whenever it wants, and by any means necessary (as we’ve seen in the drawn-out and very public battle with Apple over encryption). However, many feel that the FBI is really overstepping its authority with an expansion of the National Security Letter (NSL) statute. An amendment to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), which is sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), is set to go before the Judiciary Committee on Thursday, and would expand the FBI’s warrantless vacuuming of user data. Under the... Read more...
The FBI ultimately dropped its suit against Apple involving the now infamous iPhone that was connected to a terrorist in the San Bernardino shooting, but the quest to set a legal precedent marches on. FBI Director James Comey hinted as much when said this week there would be more legal battles over encryption and with regards to forcing tech companies to help law enforcement access data on electronic devices.It's not game over, in other words. Though the FBI ultimately didn't need Apple's help in extracting data from the iPhone 5c model it confiscated from a dead terrorist who had locked the handset... Read more...
The government’s ability to compel you to cough up the contents of your smartphone is growing with each day. Just last week, we reported that the U.S. Supreme Court has granted federal law enforcement agencies the ability to issue search warrants for computing devices in any jurisdiction in the United States; an act that U.S. Senator Ron Wyden said would allow the government to “search thousands or millions of computers at once; and the vast majority of the affected computers would belong to the victims, not the perpetrators, of a cybercrime.” Now, U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia Rosenberg has granted... Read more...
As we’ve seen in the San Bernardino iPhone case, the FBI is willing to go to extreme lengths to retrieve [potentially valuable] personal information for investigative purposes. When Apple wouldn’t comply with FBI requests to unlock the iPhone 5c in that case, the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit. A day before the case was to go to trial, the lawsuit was unexpectedly pulled, as the FBI had found a way to break into the iPhone through the help of a third-party. In the future, the FBI might not have to go through so many hoops to crack large numbers of smartphones and PCs, as the U.S. Supreme... Read more...
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