The FBI warned parents of privacy and safety risks from children's toys connected to the internet. In an advisory posted on its website, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said that such toys may contain parts or capabilities such as microphones, cameras, GPS, data storage and speech recognition that may disclose personal information.
Normal conversation with a toy or in the surrounding environment may disclose a child's name, school, likes and dislikes and activities, the FBI said. "I think this is the first time the FBI has issued such warning," Tod Beardsley, director of research at cyber security firm Rapid7, said in a telephone interview.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
Justice Dept. officials say that details of a hacking tool used to access a terrorist's iPhone should not be released because it may still be "useful" to federal investigators.
The government is fighting a case against three news organizations, which are fighting to release details of the hacking tool that FBI agents used to unlock a passcode-protected phone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook. Details of the hacking tool have remained classified, not least because the Justice Dept. believes the tool may still be used by the FBI in similar cases. A third-party company created the hacking tool that was used to break the passcode lock on the iPhone 5c, the company's name has not been revealed.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
A last-ditch effort in the Senate to block or delay rule changes that would expand the U.S. government's hacking powers failed Wednesday, despite concerns the changes would jeopardize the privacy rights of innocent Americans and risk possible abuse by the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump.
Democratic Senator Ron Wyden attempted three times to delay the changes, which will take effect on Thursday and allow U.S. judges will be able to issue search warrants that give the FBI the authority to remotely access computers in any jurisdiction, potentially even overseas. His efforts were blocked by Senator John Cornyn of Texas.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
In January, experts reported on the FBI's “unprecedented” hacking operation, in which the agency, using a single warrant, deployed malware to over one thousand alleged visitors of a dark web child pornography site. Now, it has emerged that the campaign was actually several orders of magnitude larger.
In all, the FBI obtained over 8,000 IP addresses, and hacked computers in 120 different countries, according to a transcript from a recent evidentiary hearing in a related case. The figures illustrate the largest ever known law enforcement hacking campaign to date, and starkly demonstrate what the future of policing crime on the dark web may look like.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
In 2013, the FBI received permission to hack over 300 specific users of dark web email service TorMail. But now, after the warrants and their applications have finally been unsealed, experts say the agency illegally went further, and hacked perfectly legitimate users of the privacy-focused service.
“That is, while the warrant authorized hacking with a scalpel, the FBI delivered their malware to TorMail users with a grenade,” Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union, told in an email. The move comes after the ACLU pushed to unseal the case dockets in September.Read more