Items tagged with FBI

Apple and the FBI have clashed over encryption policies on numerous occasions, with the latter pressuring the former to build a backdoor into iOS to make it easier for authorities to crack into locked iPhone handsets. To this point, Apple has not wavered, or so we thought. New information suggests Apple had planned to support fully encrypted iCloud backups, but relented after objections from the FBI. In case you have not been following this saga, Apple and FBI butted heads publicly following the deadly San Bernardino shooting in late 2015. The FBI recovered an iPhone 5C that belonged to one of the terrorists involved in the shooting, who was killed in a showdown with police. It then sought Apple's... Read more...
Here we go again, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is exerting pressure on Apple to help unlock an older iPhone model as part of a crime investigation, and just like before, there's another layer to the story. On the surface, it might seem reasonable to pressure a device maker to thwart its own creations, in the name of public safety and all that jazz. But that's a bulls**t excuse. I'll tell you why. We saw this play out before. At the tail end of 2015, a pair of terrorists went on a shooting spree in San Bernardino, killing 14 people and wounding 22 others. It was awful. Both terrorists died in a shootout with police, and authorities subsequently recovered an iPhone 5C... Read more...
With Christmas right around the corner, many Americans are traveling (or about to travel) to spend time with friends and loved ones. And when away from home (or the office), many Americans are tempted to hop onto any available, unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspot with their smartphone, tablet or laptop in order to avoid using previous cellular data. However, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is warning Americans about falling into that trap. As part of its Tech Tuesday column, the FBI's Oregon office is presenting a number of tips to keep your devices safe from potential hackers when traveling. While most of these suggestions are practices that many techies always adhere to... Read more...
Streaming video is big business today with sites like Netflix and Hulu offering huge amounts of content that people can stream anywhere they have an internet connection. As many subscribers as Netflix and others have, two of the biggest streaming sites were illegal. Two programmers in Las Vegas recently admitted to running a pair of the largest illegal TV and movie streaming services in the country, according to federal authorities. One of the platforms reportedly had more paying subscribers than Netflix or any other legitimate streaming platform. FBI investigators arrested Darryl Polo and Luis Villarino in relation to the investigation, and both of the developers have pled guilty to copyright... Read more...
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but the holiday season is still in full effect. There are lots of new Internet of Things (IoT) devices out there, and even more that will be given out as gifts. IoT devices cover a wide gamut of connected items that include just about anything that is internet-connected today, like thermostats, wearables, smart speakers, and even refrigerators. All of these IoT devices send and receive data and have the potential to open the door to hackers. The FBI is asking people who are bringing the devices into their homes if they know how the data the devices utilize is being collected and where the data is going. The FBI is urging everyone to protect themselves... Read more...
Pretty much all new TVs these days have smart functionality built into them. This can vary by model—some are simply loaded up with streaming apps, like Netflix and Hulu, while others offer voice control. Some even have built-in cameras, both for facial recognition and to utilize apps like Skype. In response to these increasingly sophisticated TV sets permeating the market, FBI Portland has issued a warning that they can pose security and privacy threats. Of course, this has been known, and for quite a while. Around this time in 2012 (seven years ago), it was discovered that some smart TV models (including some Samsung smart TVs) were susceptible to a vulnerability that could allow an attacker... Read more...
It's not often that the US Justice Department or FBI pleads with the public to do something, so when this happens, it's worth paying attention. This past week, the agency managed to thwart a botnet called VPNFilter by deactivating a domain that would have sent further instructions to routers belonging to ordinary folk like you and me. A problem still remains, though, and it's the one the these agencies want help with. Even though the malicious domain was killed off, thousands of home routers remain infected with the malware that made them susceptible to that kind of attack to begin with. Because the bug is severe enough, router vendors have been issuing firmware updates to remedy the... Read more...
The FBI has quoted statistics to the public and Congress that claimed investigators had been locked out of encrypted devices like smartphones nearly 7,800 times. It is now being reported that the actual number is much smaller in the area of between 1,000 and 2,000 incidents. The report claims that over a time frame of seven months, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray cited the inflated figure as evidence that the FBI needed to address what it calls "Going Dark." Going Dark is a term the FBI uses to describe the spread of encrypted software that can block investigators from accessing data on a device even when they have a court order authorizing the action. Reports indicate that the FBI... Read more...
The Apple iPhone has become so common with both upstanding citizens and nefarious criminals that law enforcement frequently is faced with trying to unlock the devices of people who are suspects in crimes to gather evidence. For suspects that are deceased, gathering evidence can be a challenge for law enforcement officials. The FBI was involved in the first known instance of using a deceased suspect's fingerprint attempt unlocking an iPhone. The case in question was the terrorist attack committed by Razak Ali Artan where the attacker was shot and killed by a police officer. FBI forensics specialist Bob Moledor has detailed that case for Forbes and says that in that particular case, the fingerprint... Read more...
US Intelligence officials have determined that phones and services provided by Huawei, a Chinese smartphone manufacturer in China, and Chinese telecom ZTE pose a security risk to Americans, and that consumers should avoid both companies altogether. The determination was made known by half a dozen US intelligence chiefs, each of which told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that Americans should steer clear of both companies. Among the six top intelligence chiefs were the heads of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and National Security Agency (NSA), along with the director of national intelligence. At first, they all indicated a lack of trust... Read more...
Fingerprint analyzing software used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and more than 18,000 other law enforcement agencies in the United States might contain Russian code. The apparent finding comes at a time of heightened security concerns over international spying efforts—just three months ago, the Department of Homeland Security banned all federal agencies from using Kaspersky's security products due to reports of Russian hacking. Image Source: Flickr via Alan Levine Regarding the fingerprint analysis software, a French company injected the Russian code into the program, according to a couple of former employees of that firm. At the time, the firm was a subsidiary of Safran, a French... Read more...
Microsoft announced this week that it has teamed up with the FBI and other partners including ESET to dismantle the massive botnet called Gamarue (Andromeda). Microsoft says that it and its partners began the journey to disrupt the botnet all the way back in 2015. A coordinated take down started on November 29, 2017 and an arrest was made. ESET wrote, "A coordinated take down started on November 29, 2017 and as a result of this joint effort, law enforcement agencies across the globe were able to make an arrest and obstruct activity of the malware family responsible for infecting more than 1.1 million systems per month." The road to the arrest started in 2015 when the Microsoft Windows Defender... Read more...
There's no secret that the FBI is not a big fan of device encryption on devices like smartphones. As we saw in the San Bernardino incident, then FBI director James Comey attempted to bully Apple into providing a backdoor to iOS and the Touch ID safe enclave in order to break into an iPhone 5s that was used by one of the terrorists. Apple refused to cave in, and the FBI eventually went with an outside firm to crack the device. Comey's successor, Christopher Wray, is once again fanning the flames when it comes to the debate between giving law enforcement agencies the tools necessary to unlock devices that are subject to a criminal investigation, and respecting the desire of everyday Americans... Read more...
In December 2015, a man in San Bernadino, California and his wife participated in a terrorist attack that left 14 people dead. In the wake of that attack, the FBI opened an investigation into the couple and ties to other potential terrorists living within the US. An iPhone 5C was discovered that belonged to one of the terrorists, and the FBI wanted Apple to create a tool that would bypass the security on the iPhone in question and allow law enforcement into the device to look for leads and other evidence. Apple refused to help the FBI develop a backdoor into the device leading the Justice Department to file a suit against Apple to force the company to participate in the investigation. However,... Read more...
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