FBI surveillance bonanza in BadTrans.B worm

Millions of passwords in those mail dumps

Millions of Outlook and Outlook Express users have been infected by the BadTrans.B worm, which logs keystrokes in every open window and periodically sends the log files to one of several e-mail dumps, presumably for later retrieval by nosey hackers.

Or Feds. According to a story from Rotten.com, an ISP which hosts one of the e-mail dumps, MonkeyBrains, has received a request from the FBI to turn over all the relevant log files.

MonkeyBrains has instead turned the tables on the FBI by making part of the database available to everyone on their Web site here.

If the story is true, then the FBI's intention is clear. They plan to assemble the data and grep for various key words and names in hopes of stumbling upon the passphrases of known and suspected evildoers. It's Magic Lantern on steroids, and yet it's just a dumb accident -- but one which could dump an absolute mother lode of otherwise forbidden data in the Feds' laps.

While it's inconceivable that the FBI could get a search warrant for such a giant bonanza, there's nothing in the law which prevents the ISPs concerned from turning over the spoils voluntarily.

At press time, MonkeyBrains claimed to have logged 5,857,277 BadTrans messages; and they host only one of a score of dumps.

We've been unable to confirm the story due to temporal difficulties; but we will be checking with DoJ flacks, MonkeyBrains and several other ISPs believed to be hosting BadTrans mail dumps. We'll post a follow-up to this intriguing story as soon as we get the straight dope. ®

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