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
When the FBI bought a hacking tool to break into an iPhone, it wasn’t sure what exactly it got for its $1.3m. The FBI confirmed it wouldn’t tell Apple about the security flaw it exploited to break inside the iPhone 5C, because the bureau says it didn’t buy the rights to the technical details of the hacking tool.
The unusual declaration likely will raise only more curiosity about the FBI’s last-minute abandonment of its high-stakes court battle with Apple. The day before the two were schedule to face off in court over whether the government could force Apple to unlock the phone, the government announced it no longer needed Apple’s help.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
The FBI cracked a San Bernardino terrorist’s phone with the help of professional hackers who discovered and brought to the bureau at least one previously unknown software flaw, according to people familiar with the matter.
The new information was then used to create a piece of hardware that helped the FBI to crack the iPhone’s four-digit personal identification number without triggering a security feature that would have erased all the data, the individuals said. The researchers, who typically keep a low profile, specialize in hunting for vulnerabilities in software and then in some cases selling them to the U.S. government. They were paid a one-time flat fee for the solution.Read more
The feds warned that “a group of malicious cyber actors,” whom security experts believe to be the government-sponsored hacking group known as APT6, “have compromised and stolen sensitive information from various government and commercial networks” since at least 2011, according to an FBI alert.
The alert shows that foreign government hackers are still successfully hacking and stealing data from US government’s servers, their activities going unnoticed for years. This comes months after the US government revealed that a group of hackers had for more than a year infiltrated the computer systems of the Office of Personnel Management.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
The FBI is asking businesses and software security experts for emergency assistance in its investigation into a pernicious new type of "ransomware" virus used by hackers for extortion. "We need your help!" the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.
Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts a victim's data so they cannot gain access to it on their computers, then offers to unlock the system in exchange for payment. FBI's alert was focused on ransomware known as MSIL/Samas.A that the agency said seeks to encrypt data on entire networks, an alarming change because typically, ransomware has sought to encrypt data one computer at a time.Read more
The Justice Department said on Monday that it had found a way to unlock an iPhone without help from Apple, allowing the agency to withdraw its legal effort to compel the tech company to assist in a mass-shooting investigation.
The decision to drop the case — which involved demanding Apple’s help to open an iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, a gunman shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., ends a legal standoff between the government and the world’s most valuable public company. The case had become increasingly contentious as Apple refused to help the authorities, inciting a debate about whether privacy or security was more important.Read more
The mobile forensics firm Cellebrite of Israel is reportedly assisting the Federal Bureau of Investigation in unlocking a seized iPhone that has become the center of a legal dispute between the bureau and Apple.
The revelation comes two days after the US government tentatively withdrew its demands that Apple write code and assist the authorities to unlock a seized iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino County shooters. The FBI told a federal judge that an "outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking Farook's iPhone." A federal magistrate then tentatively stayed her order demanding that Apple assist the authorities in unlocking the phone.Read more