Items tagged with FBI

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.... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... Read more...
WikiLeaks, the non-profit organization that publishes secret information provided by anonymous sources, released details about a tool that was used by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to ensure that other government intelligence agencies were sharing the biometric information they collected. That includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), National Security Agency (NSA), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). That's right, the CIA has (or had) a tool to spy on the government's spy agencies. The tool is called ExpressLane and it would be installed and run under the... Read more...
Antivirus maker Kaspersky Lab may have kissed and made up with Microsoft over a dispute in how Windows 10 handles third-party AV software, but even so companies are reportedly being warned not to use the security software. The warning comes from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), according to CyberScoop, which says it spoke with both current and former senior US officials who are familiar with the matter. The perceived threat is a familiar one in the software industry—government spying. In this case, Kaspersky Lab is headquartered in Moscow, Russia. Apparently US intelligence... Read more...
No good deed goes unpunished. That could be the case for UK citizen Marcus Hutchins, who was arrested this week in Nevada by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). While the name Marcus Hutchins might not be familiar to you, you might recognize his Twitter handle, MalwareTech, and the Los Angeles-based security firm that he works for, Kryptos Logic. It was Hutchins who helped to thwart the initial outbreak of the WannaCry ransomware attack that rocked computer systems around the globe back in mid-May. By registering a domain that WannaCry was pinging, Hutchins effectively activated... Read more...
The investigation regarding the 2014 Yahoo hack is finally getting somewhere. The United States Justice Department just announced the indictment of two members of the Russian intelligence agency FSB, and two hackers hired by the Russians. The spies managed to hack into 500 million Yahoo accounts. The charges against the four include hacking, wire fraud, trade secret theft and economic espionage. The United States currently does not have an extradition treaty with Russia, which will make bringing the criminals to justice difficult. The Justice Department also noted that people sometimes slip away... Read more...
Can the FBI access your email if it is on a foreign server? Google was recently ordered by a United States judge to release emails stored on foreign mail servers to the FBI. The communications are possibly related to a domestic fraud case. U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Rueter in Philadelphia ruled that transferring emails from a foreign server to the FBI does not count as seizure. He contended that the email transfer did not create any “meaningful interference” with the account holder’s “possessory interest”. Furthermore, Judge Reuter insisted that any privacy infringement occurs “at the time of... Read more...
The FBI may have overstepped its bounds (again) and acted outside what was made legally permissible by a 2008 Justice Department memo when it asked Twitter to provide information about certain account holders. Twitter received the data requests by way of two national security letters (NSLs) that were served, one in 2015 and the other in 2016, which at the time were protected by gag orders preventing Twitter from notifying the affected account holders or publicly disclosing their existence. Those gag orders have been lifted and just as other tech companies have done in recent months—most notably... Read more...
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