An FBI electronics technician pleaded guilty on Monday to having illegally acted as an agent of China, admitting that he on several occasions passed sensitive information to a Chinese official. Kun Shan Chun, also known as Joey Chun, was employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation since 1997.
He pleaded guilty in federal court in Manhattan to one count of having illegally acted as an agent of a foreign government. Chun, who was arrested in March on a set of charges made public only on Monday, admitted in court that from 2011 to 2016 he acted at the direction of a Chinese official, to whom he passed the sensitive information.Read more
The FBI maintains a huge database of more than 411m photos culled from sources including driver’s licenses, passport applications and visa applications, which it cross-references with photos of criminal suspects using largely untested and questionably accurate facial recognition software.
A study from the Government Accountability Office released on Wednesdayfor the first time revealed the extent of the program, which had been queried several years before through a Freedom of Information Act request from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.Read more
The U.S. Federal Reserve detected more than 50 cyber breaches between 2011 and 2015, with several incidents described internally as "espionage," according to Fed records. The central bank's staff suspected hackers or spies in many of the incidents, the records show.
The Fed's computer systems play a critical role in global banking and hold confidential information on discussions about monetary policy that drives financial markets. The cybersecurity reports were heavily redacted by Fed officials to keep secret the central bank's security procedures. The records represent only a slice of all cyber attacks on the Fed.Read more
Technology firm Yahoo has released the contents of three secretive National Security Letters routinely used by the FBI to request personal information and communications data about targets deemed to be a threat to the nation.
The letters outline the vast demands for data by the FBI while legally gagging Yahoo from speaking out. Over the past few years, snippets of details have emerged about the content of these requests however the move by Yahoo to release the letters marks the first case of a company being able to publicly acknowledge receiving an NSL without engaging in a years-long court battle.Read more
FBI officials are warning private industry partners to be on the lookout for highly stealthy keystroke loggers that surreptitiously sniff passwords and other input typed into wireless keyboards.
The FBI's Private Industry Notification is dated April 29, more than 15 months after whitehat hacker Samy Kamkar released a KeySweeper, a proof-of-concept attack platform that covertly logged and decrypted keystrokes from many Microsoft-branded wireless keyboards and transmitted the data over cellular networks. To lower the chances that the sniffing device might be discovered by a target, Kamkar designed it to look almost identical to USB phone chargers.Read more
The Supreme Court on Thursday approved a rule change that would let U.S. judges issue search warrants for access to computers located in any jurisdiction despite opposition from civil liberties groups who say it will greatly expand the FBI's hacking authority.
U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts transmitted the rules to Congress, which will have until Dec. 1 to reject or modify the changes to the federal rules of criminal procedure. If Congress does not act, the rules would take effect automatically. Magistrate judges normally can order searches only within the jurisdiction of their court, which is typically limited to a few counties.Read more
How does the U.S. government beat Tor, the anonymity software used by millions of people around the world? By hiring someone with experience on the inside. A former Tor Project developer created malware for the Federal Bureau of Investigation that allowed agents to unmask users of the anonymity software.
Matt Edman is a cybersecurity expert who worked as a part-time employee at Tor Project, the nonprofit that builds Tor software and maintains the network, almost a decade ago. Since then, he's developed potent malware used by law enforcement to unmask Tor users.Read more
US authorities asked for user data from Apple accounts 1,015 times during the second half of 2015, according to figures the iPhone maker released Tuesday. The requests pertain to information on services such as iMessages, emails, photos and device backups.
The number of requests is up from 971 during the first half of last year and 788 during the last six months of 2014. Apple provided at least some data in response to 82% of the requests, about average for the California technology company. The requests from various US government law enforcement agencies, which are only disclosed in broad ranges, also appeared to go up during that time.Read more
Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey said on Thursday the agency paid more to get into the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters than he will make in the remaining seven years and four months he has in his job.
According to figures from the FBI and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Comey's annual salary as of January 2015 was $183,300. Without a raise or bonus, Comey will make $1.34 million over the remainder of his job. That suggests the FBI paid the largest ever publicized fee for a hacking job, easily surpassing the $1 million paid by U.S. information security company Zerodium to break into phones.Read more
Apple refused to give the FBI software the agency desperately wanted. Now Apple is the one that needs the FBI's assistance. The FBI announced Monday that it managed to unlock an iPhone 5c belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters without the help of Apple.
And the agency has shown no interest in telling Apple how it skirted the phone's security features, leaving the tech giant guessing about a vulnerability that could compromise millions of devices. "One way or another, Apple needs to figure out the details," said Justin Olsson, product counsel at security software maker AVG Technologies.Read more