The Trump administration issued a fresh warning Tuesday about malicious North Korean cyber activity, as that nation's leader dispatched a top adviser to New York to prepare for a possible summit on its nuclear arsenal.
The technical alert from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security highlighted two pieces of malware said to have been used to target U.S. infrastructure and aerospace, financial and media companies for at least nine years to steal information and remotely manipulate networks. In recent years, the US has accused North Korea of launching a slew of cyberattacks, and it wasn't immediately clear if there was any significance to the timing of the latest warning.Read more
A state law enforcement officer, apparently without the knowledge of his own agency, purchased malware that can intercept social media messages, emails, and much more.
Although it’s unclear why the investigator bought the malware, which requires physical access to a smartphone to install, this is the first known case of a US state law enforcement officer purchasing such a tool. In a similar way to how surveillance technology such as Stingrays has trickled down to local agencies, the news highlights how spying software is not limited to federal agencies such as the FBI or DEA, but has spread, in some form, to more regional forces.Read more
U.S. senators sought on Wednesday to ban Moscow-based cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab's products from use by the military because of fears the company is vulnerable to "Russian government influence," a day after the FBI interviewed several of its U.S. employees as part of a probe into its operations.
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents visited the homes of Kaspersky employees late on Tuesday in multiple U.S. cities, although no search warrants were served, according to two sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the FBI probe.Read more
Russia’s growing aggression toward the United States has deepened concerns among U.S. officials that Russian spies might try to exploit one of the world’s most respected cybersecurity firms to snoop on Americans or sabotage key U.S. systems.
Products from the company, Kaspersky Lab, based in Moscow, are widely used in homes, businesses and government agencies throughout the United States, including the Bureau of Prisons. Kaspersky Lab’s products are stocked on the shelves of Target and Best Buy, which also sells laptops loaded by manufacturers with the firm’s anti-virus software.Read more
The FBI is investigating how hackers infiltrated computers at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for several years beginning in 2010 in a breach senior FDIC officials believe was sponsored by China's military.
The security breach, in which hackers gained access to dozens of computers including the workstation for former FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair, has also been the target of a probe by a congressional committee. The FDIC is one of three federal agencies that regulate commercial banks in the USA. It oversees confidential plans for how big banks would handle bankruptcy and has access to records on millions of individual American deposits.Read more
When the FBI hacked thousands of computers related to a child porn investigation in 2015, the agency took advantage of a “non-publicly-known vulnerability,” according to a judge in a related case.
The news highlights the ongoing trend of the FBI leveraging security issues in software and devices, especially as criminal suspects turn to anonymization technology such as Tor, or use consumer products that have encryption features baked into them. In this case, the vulnerability may not have been a so-called zero-day which would bring up contentious issues of the FBI’s responsibility to disclose it to affected parties.Read more
The FBI is able to unlock or access data on most of the phones and computers it encounters during its investigations, as well as those of local and state cops, according to the bureau’s General Counsel Jim Baker.
So far in the fiscal year 2016, the FBI has encountered passwords or passcodes—that is locked phones or laptops—in 31 percent mobile devices analyzed by its forensic labs, Baker said according to attendants at a public meeting on encryption and the challenges it poses to law enforcement, celebrated in Washington DC on Friday. The numbers disclosed by Baker, which have never been published before, seem to indicate that the reality, however, is a little different.Read more
Someone in mid-2015 had installed software that scanned emails containing a string of characters, just as a nation state hacker might if they sought specific information without having to go through each message manually.
It turned out, though, that unlike a recently-revealed 2014 attack, a foreign state was not to blame. Instead, Yahoo executives helped the US government install a tool that would scan every email for that string, still unknown outside of those who carried out the surveillance project. CEO Marissa Mayer and her lawyers decided not to tell the Yahoo security team, a group called the Paranoids well-known for its dislike of invasive state surveillance.Read more
During a House Judiciary Committee hearing, FBI Director James Comey revealed hackers have attempted to hack into voter registration sites in more than a dozen states and on several occasions. Investigators believe Russia is behind the attempted hacks, officials said.
"There have been a variety of scanning activities which is a preamble for potential intrusion activities as well as some attempted intrusions at voter database registrations beyond those we knew about in July and August," Comey said. Comey told states to remain vigilant of their voter registration systems, warning that would-be hackers are "poking around".Read more
Should you put a tape or a sticker over the lens of your laptop's webcam? Yes, even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and FBI Director James Comey do that. Covering your laptop's webcam might be a hell cheap and good idea to guard against hackers and intruders who might want to watch your private life and environment through your devices.
In fact, Comey recently came out defending his own use of tape to cover his personal laptop's webcam. However, putting a tape over the lens of your computer's webcam would not solve the problem, especially in this era when we are surrounded by so many Internet-connected devices that are a security nightmare.Read more