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
The FBI failed to notify scores of US officials that Russian hackers were trying to break into their personal Gmail accounts despite having evidence for at least a year, an investigation found.
The Associated Press dedicated two months and a small team of reporters to go through a hit list of targets of Fancy Bear, a Russian government-aligned cyberespionage group, that was provided by the cybersecurity firm Secureworks. Previous investigations based on the list had shown how Fancy Bear worked in close alignment with the Kremlin’s interests to steal tens of thousands of emails from the Democratic party.Read more
FBI special agent Christopher Combs complained how the agency couldn't get into the Texas shooter's phone during a press conference. Turns out all they had to do was ask Apple for help.
In a statement the tech titan has released to the media, it said it "immediately reached out to the FBI after learning from their press conference on Tuesday that investigators were trying to access a mobile phone." Cupertino offered its assistance and even promised to "expedite [its] response to any legal process." The company told that the FBI has yet to ask for help accessing the phone.Read more
During a hacking operation in which U.S. authorities broke into thousands of computers around the world to investigate child pornography, the FBI hacked a number of targets in Russia, China, and Iran.
The news signals the bold future of policing on the so-called dark web, where investigators are increasingly deploying malware without first knowing which country their suspect is located in. Experts and commentators say the approach of blindly kicking down digital doors in countries not allied with the U.S. could lead to geopolitical fallout. The case centers around the FBI’s 2015 Operation Pacifier investigation, which delved into a child-pornography site.Read more
Christopher Wray said encryption on devices was "a huge, huge problem" for FBI investigations. The agency had failed to access more than half of the devices it targeted in an 11-month period, he said. One cyber-security expert said such encryption was now a "fact of life".
Many smartphones encrypt their contents when locked, as standard - a security feature that often prevents even the phones' manufacturers from accessing data. Such encryption is different to end-to-end encryption, which prevents interception of communications on a large scale.Read more
The FBI will not be forced to reveal details of a hacking tool used to break into a terrorist's iPhone, a case that sparked months of legal hostilities between Apple and the US government.
Vice News, USA Today, and the Associated Press filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit to reveal the name of the hacking tool's vendor and its price. The Justice Dept. launched legal action against Apple, which had refused to help unlock the phone, arguing the device's encryption could not be defeated -- even by the company. The FBI later obtained a hacking tool -- details of which the agency wants to keep secret.Read more
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