FBI Increasingly Using Malware To Remotely Turn On Phone/Laptop Microphones
from the that-seems-problematic dept
Federal agencies have largely kept quiet about these capabilities, but court documents and interviews with people involved in the programs provide new details about the hacking tools, including spyware delivered to computers and phones through email or Web links—techniques more commonly associated with attacks by criminals.The report also notes things like using a computer's camera to take photos -- though, in the one case where this tactic was requested, the judge nixed the request, worried that it might lead to the collection of info on innocent people. There's also this wonderful line:
[....] The FBI develops some hacking tools internally and purchases others from the private sector. With such technology, the bureau can remotely activate the microphones in phones running Google Inc.'s Android software to record conversations, one former U.S. official said. It can do the same to microphones in laptops without the user knowing, the person said.
The bureau has controls to ensure only "relevant data" are scooped up, the person said. A screening team goes through all of the data pulled from the hack to determine what is relevant, then hands off that material to the case team and stops working on the case.Considering how we've already seen the feds redefine "relevant," that seems kind of laughable.
Of course, if you're a computer hacker, you might be safe:
The bureau typically uses hacking in cases involving organized crime, child pornography or counterterrorism, a former U.S. official said. It is loath to use these tools when investigating hackers, out of fear the suspect will discover and publicize the technique, the person said.So, um, if you want to avoid such things, I guess you should get busy hacking.