Articles about Feds

Wow. What a shock. The FBI will get its bonus hacking powers after all

Three last-ditch legislative efforts to block the changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure have failed, and from tomorrow the Feds will find hacking your PC a lot less of a hassle. The rule change was introduced by the Supreme Court in April. It will allow the FBI and police to apply for a warrant to a …
Iain Thomson, 30 Nov 2016
police

FYI: The FBI is being awfully evasive about its fresh cyber-spy powers

Senior US senators have expressed concern that the FBI is not being clear about how it intends to use its enhanced powers to spy on American citizens. Those are the spying powers granted by Congressional inaction over an update to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. These changes will kick in on December 1 …
Iain Thomson, 23 Nov 2016
hacker

NullCrew's Canadian telco hacker thrown in the clink for four years

A member of the NullCrew group has been jailed for 45 months after pleading guilty to bag a reduced sentence. Timothy Justin French, aka Orbit, 22, was part of NullCrew – itself an offshoot of Anonymous. The gang gained notoriety with a series of high-profile hacks in 2012 and 2013, when French was 17, including hitting …
Iain Thomson, 02 Nov 2016

America has one month to stop the FBI getting its global license to hack

In one month, an obscure procedural rule tweak will come into effect allowing US cops and federal agents to potentially hack any computer in the world using a single warrant issued anywhere in America. No one in Congress has voted on this legal update. It means a warrant granted somewhere within the US can be executed on the …
Iain Thomson, 31 Oct 2016

FBI reopens Hillary spillery

Newly discovered messages linked to the private email server run by Hillary Clinton when she was US Secretary of State are being investigated by the FBI. The Feds previously probed the Presidential wannabe's system and basically found nothing. It was feared hackers had ransacked the server looking for juicy sensitive files. …
Iain Thomson, 28 Oct 2016
Internet anonymity

Judge orders FBI to reveal whether White House launched 'Tor pedo' torpedo exploits

A US judge overseeing an FBI “Playpen case” has told agents to reveal whether or not their investigative hacking was approved by the White House. The case is one of several the Feds are pursuing against more than 100 alleged users of the child sex abuse material exchange network called the Playpen. The prosecutions have become …
DDOS

Thanks, IoT vendors: your slack attitude will get regulators moving

Last Friday's Mirai botnet attack against Dyn must force everybody's hands – vendors, regulators, and Internet infrastructure operators. It's going to be a while before research gets as far as attribution to an attacker, but in the meantime, there's plenty of culpability to go around. Two things are clear, however: the …

Donald Trump running insecure email servers

US presidential candidate Donald Trump’s criticism of rival Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while Secretary of State appeared to have rebounded on him. Security researcher Kevin Beaumont discovered the Trump organisation uses a hopelessly outdated and insecure internet setup. Servers on the Trump Organization' …
John Leyden, 19 Oct 2016
Blackmail

Sextortion on the internet: Our man refuses to lie down and take it

Exclusive An unpleasant Monday morning kicked off when my personal email account popped up a message of thanks for joining YouTube rival Vimeo. Seven minutes later, I visited the website, where I was confronted by a sexually explicit video stating I was a pedophile. The video depicted a bearded young man lying back on a bed, pleasuring …
Iain Thomson, 17 Oct 2016

FBI wants to unlock another jihadist’s iPhone

The FBI wants to crack into another deceased terrorist’s locked iPhone. Dahir Adan stabbed 10 people inside a St. Cloud, Minnesota, shopping mall last month before he was shot dead by an off-duty police officer. Daesh (IS) later claimed responsibility for the attack. Adan - like San Bernardino gun attack terrorist Rizwan …
John Leyden, 07 Oct 2016

Feds collar chap who allegedly sneaked home US hacking blueprints

An American who worked at the same intelligence contractor as NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been charged with the theft of classified documents. Harold Martin, 51, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, was arrested in late August after the FBI raided his house and storage shed, allegedly finding a number of top secret documents he …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Oct 2016

Google says it would have a two-word answer for Feds seeking Yahoo!-style email backdoor

Since word spread that Yahoo! backdoored its own email servers for US intelligence services, we've heard from rival webmail providers denying they have put in place similar arrangements. That Yahoo! has a cosy relationship with the Feds is not surprising, especially given what we know about PRISM and Section 702 of the Foreign …
Iain Thomson, 05 Oct 2016
Moxie Markinspike

Feds get sweet FA from Whisper Systems Signal subpoena

Open Whisper Systems – the secure messaging firm set up by respected crypto anarchist Moxie Marlinspike – has published the results of a federal subpoena and shown that the Feds got very little for their trouble. OWS builds Signal, the secure messaging and phone service that builds in end-to-end encryption and a host of other …
Iain Thomson, 04 Oct 2016
Cash in brown paper envelope CC 2.0 attribution StockMonkeys.com

Verizon techie sold people's call logs at $75 a head to private dick

A former Verizon Wireless employee is facing time behind bars after he pled guilty to selling customer records. Daniel E Traeger copped to one charge of unauthorized access to a protected computer, admitting that from September of 2011 to January of 2014 he accessed and sold customer mobile records, including phone location …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Sep 2016

It's OK for the FBI's fake hacks to hack suspects' PCs, says DoJ watchdog

No rules were broken when an FBI agent posed as a journalist to infect a criminal suspect's PC with spyware, says a US watchdog. And the Feds can do it again, provided they get the undercover operation signed off by their higher-ups. Way back in June 2007, 15-year-old Charles Jenkins used a Gmail account to send a bomb threat …
Chris Williams, 15 Sep 2016
Picture by Sunshine Press

Edward Snowden's 40 days in a Russian airport – by the woman who helped him escape

Interview Sarah Harrison, the British WikiLeaks journalist who successfully spirited Edward Snowden from Hong Kong to safe(ish) asylum in Russia, has told The Register how she did it – and what’s next for the NSA whistleblower, and for Julian Assange. She spoke to us a week before the Oliver Stone film Snowden is released*, although she …
Iain Thomson, 12 Sep 2016

FBI Clinton email dossier

The FBI has published online a thorough report of its investigation into US presidential wannabe Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. It was feared the system would be ransacked by hackers – government and private – looking for juicy sensitive files. According to the Washington Post …
Iain Thomson, 02 Sep 2016
Penguin

Bloke accused of Linux kernel.org hack nabbed during traffic stop

A man who allegedly hacked the Linux Kernel Organization's kernel.org and the Linux Foundation's servers has been collared by cops. Donald Ryan Austin, 27, of El Portal, Florida, will appear in court in San Francisco later this month. He is accused of four counts of "intentional transmission causing damage to a protected …
Iain Thomson, 02 Sep 2016
inspector clouseau

Good job, Oz feds: Conroy wants you investigated for privilege and contempt

As was inevitable, the fate of the “NBN documents” is off to the Australian Senate's privileges committee. The referral to the committee was a formality, since nobody in the Senate wants to find themselves raided by the Australian Federal Police for receiving leaked documents. However, Senator Stephen Conroy, chief target of …
drug dealer

Post-Silk Road, Feds bust chaps for 'dealing heroin, coke' on world's largest dark web souk

Two men from Brooklyn in the US have been indicted on charges of selling heroin and cocaine on AlphaBay – believed to be the world's largest dark web marketplace. Abudullah Almashwali, 31, and Chaudhry Ahmad Farooq, 24, were cuffed on August 2 after agents bought packages of the drugs from members of the Tor-hidden souk …
Iain Thomson, 12 Aug 2016

Bungling Microsoft singlehandedly proves that golden backdoor keys are a terrible idea

Updated Microsoft leaked the golden keys that unlock Windows-powered tablets, phones and other devices sealed by Secure Boot – and is now scrambling to undo the blunder. These skeleton keys can be used to install non-Redmond operating systems on locked-down computers. In other words, on devices that do not allow you to disable Secure …
Chris Williams, 10 Aug 2016

How many zero-day vulns is Uncle Sam sitting on? Not as many as you think, apparently

DEF CON While some fear the US government is hoarding a vast pool of zero-day security vulnerabilities, the reality is that it probably holds just a few dozen, according to a study by Columbia University. In a presentation at the DEF CON hacking conference in Las Vegas today, Jason Healey, senior research scholar in the university's …
Iain Thomson, 05 Aug 2016
Ivan Krstić

Apple joins the bug bounty party with $200,000 top prize

Black Hat Security researchers can win up to US$200,000 in Apple's new bug bounty program, announced by the company on Thursday at the Black Hat security convention in Las Vegas. “We’ve had great help from researchers like you and the security mechanisms we build have gotten stronger,” said Apple’s head of security engineering and …
Iain Thomson, 05 Aug 2016

FBI electronics nerd confesses: I fed spy tech blueprints to China

A veteran FBI geek funneled sensitive information about the Feds to the Chinese government – and now faces years behind bars. Kun Shan "Joey" Chun, 46, sent organizational charts and photographs of spying technology to a handler in the Middle Kingdom, while working as an electronics technician in a New York FBI office. Chun …
Shaun Nichols, 01 Aug 2016

Apple, Facebook and Coinbase coughed data to finger alleged pirate king

The United States case against alleged Kickass Torrents (KAT) boss Artem Vaulin is built on data obtained from Apple, Facebook and Coinbase. The criminal complaint (PDF) against Vaulin details how the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted a lengthy online probe into the alleged …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2016
Privacy image

Cloud giants demand overhaul of America's privacy rules on overseas servers

Technology trade organizations have urged the US Congress to replace the country's antique privacy protection laws – after a New York court stopped American prosectors from seizing emails from servers offshore in Ireland. A Second Circuit Court in the so-called "Irish Warrant" case, brought by Microsoft against the US …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Jul 2016

Google quietly takes gag off Mississippi AG after wrecking ads probe

Google has, without fanfare, dropped its legal action that muzzled an investigation into the ad giant's conduct by the State of Mississippi. The state's elected attorney general, Democrat Jim Hood, has taken on Wall Street, the tobacco industry and the KKK, but even he must have been surprised by Google's 44-page restraining …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Jul 2016
Pic: Shutterstock

Meet Riffle, the next-gen anonymity network that hopes to trounce Tor

Next week, top eggheads will unveil a new anonymizing internet tool that they claim is snoop-proof and faster and more reliable against attack than Tor. Dubbed Riffle, the system was developed by MIT and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. It uses the same onion-encryption system as Tor, which wraps …
Iain Thomson, 13 Jul 2016
Johnny English

FBI arrests satellite engineer on charges of espionage

A US military contractor is alleged to have tried to sell Uncle Sam's satellite secrets to someone he thought was a Russian intelligence officer, the Feds claim. Gregory Allen Justice, 49, of Culver City, California, worked as a security tester on military satellites, including the GPS system, the Milstar military …
Iain Thomson, 11 Jul 2016

FBI won't jail future US president over private email server

The FBI has said it will not recommend nor push for any charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server while secretary of state. At a press conference Tuesday morning, FBI director James Comey gave a lengthy description of the investigation his staff had carried out, focused on whether Clinton has …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Jul 2016
Woman with "crying with laughter" emoji for a head... photo by Shutterstock

Here's how to SMS spam Liberal voters and get away with it

It's easy to spam voters with text messages and get away with it. If you wanted to swing voters ahead of a federal election, as the Australian Labor Party is alleged to have done in a message claiming a rival Liberal Coalition Government would privatise the nation's healthcare provider Medicare, you wouldn't send a text …
Darren Pauli, 04 Jul 2016

Encryption, wiretaps and the Feds: THE TRUTH

Figures published this month suggest fewer Americans are using encryption to secure their communications – but if you look into the detail, the opposite is probably closer to reality. The latest Wiretap Report from the US courts system – which counts up the number of requests from investigators to spy on people's chatter in …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Jun 2016
Crown courtroom. Pic: Shutterstock

Lauri Love at risk of suicide if extradited to US, Brit court hears

Alleged hacker Lauri Love, of Stradishall, Suffolk, who is said to have hacked into a number of US government agencies' websites, is at risk of killing himself if British authorities allow him to be extradited to the US, a court heard yesterday. Westminster Magistrates' Court in London began to hear the extradition request …
Ron Wyden

US Senator Wyden: Why I had to halt FBI's latest internet spying push

US Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has placed a hold on the 2017 Intelligence Authorization Bill – because it would allow the FBI to snoop on people's browser histories without a court order, and weakens oversight of the intelligence community. The bill as it stands would allow the Feds to use National Security Letters (NSLs) – which …
Iain Thomson, 28 Jun 2016
Onions

Tor onion hardening will be tear-inducing for feds

The University of California wants to defeat deanonymisation with a hardened version of the Tor browser. The uni boffins are with the Tor Project testing an address space layout randomisation (ASLR) -esque technique dubbed Selfrando. It is hoped the technique described in the paper Selfrando: Securing the Tor Browser against …
Darren Pauli, 23 Jun 2016
Mitch McConnell

US Senate strikes down open-access FBI hacking warrant by just one honest vote

The US Senate has struck down an amendment that would have allowed the FBI to track internet histories and communications without judicial oversight, but a re-vote could be called as soon as today due to Senate rules. The amendment [PDF] to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act would have …
Iain Thomson, 22 Jun 2016

Pressure mounts against Rule 41 – the FBI's power to hack Tor, VPN users on sight

The campaign against Rule 41 – which will give cops and Feds in America the power to hack people's computers around the world – has kicked up a gear. Leaders of the US House of Representatives and Senate got a letter today urging them to block the rule change before it becomes permanent in December. The proposed legislative …
Iain Thomson, 21 Jun 2016

Feds warn of skyrocketing CEO fraud scams

The FBI is warning that businesses have handed some US$3.1 billion to email scammers, a whopping 1,300 percent increase in 18 months. Businesses are tricked into sending the cash to would-be chief executive officers who have sufficient company information, obtained through open source searching or hacking, that makes the …
Team Register, 17 Jun 2016
Upset man in suit and drinking liquor. Photo by Shutterstock

Hackers targeting SWIFT banks also targeted US moneymen: Hedge funds at risk

The Lazarus Group of hackers, blamed for a recent run of attacks against mainly Asian banks linked through the SWIFT network, is now suspected of targeting a mid-market US bank. Evidence uncovered by threat detection firm eSentire suggests that the Lazarus crew (which is also the chief suspect in the 2014 Sony Pictures hack) …
John Leyden, 13 Jun 2016
Poison pill

Crafty plan to give FBI warrantless access to browser histories axed

A sly attempt to grant the FBI warrantless access to people's browser histories in the US has been shot down by politicians. Unfortunately, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) Amendments Act of 2015, which would have brought in some privacy safeguards for Americans, was cut down in the crossfire. The ECPA …
Iain Thomson, 11 Jun 2016
Police search

Your comms metadata is super-revealing but the law doesn't protect it

America's legal world needs to rethink what it considers people's private information so it can get a grip on today's spying techniques. Stemming from 1970s telephone laws, communications metadata – which details who you talk to, when and where etc – is considered by the courts to be separate from the actual contents of your …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Jun 2016

Yahoo!'s secret! FBI! orders!

Yahoo! today published three redacted National Security Letters (NSLs) it received from the FBI, which demanded information about the web portal's users. As is standard, the NSLs [PDF] contained a gagging clause that prevented Yahoo! from warning its customers of the data slurp. The letters were received in April 2013, August …
Chris Williams, 01 Jun 2016

Deloitte coughs up $11m to end claims it ripped off US govt with IT work

Deloitte will pay $11m to settle allegations it overcharged the US government for IT services. The US Department of Justice (DoJ) said on Tuesday it has struck a deal with Deloitte, which was accused of – and we're paraphrasing, here – treating Uncle Sam's General Services Administration (GSA) as a bottomless pit of cash. The …
Shaun Nichols, 31 May 2016
Youth gripping his front teeth with a pair of pliers

Feds raid dental flaws dad

A dad-of-three says the FBI raided his family home at dawn this week – after he found and reported a password-less FTP server containing people's dental records. In February, Justin Shafer, a 36-year-old dental computer technician and security researcher, discovered and reported a hardcoded password in the Eaglesoft record …
Shaun Nichols, 28 May 2016

Judge torpedoes 'Tor pedo' torpedo evidence

A US District Court judge has tossed out evidence gathered by the FBI from Tor users, because the Feds wouldn't reveal how exactly it exploits their browsers to unmask them. Jay Michaud, a Vancouver school administration worker, was charged with viewing a hidden service called Playpen, which hosted child abuse material, on the …
NBN Logo

NBN raid fallout continues, with Conroy formalising privilege claim

The Australian Labor Party's (ALP's) senator Stephen Conroy has formalised his claim of parliamentary privilege over documents seized in last week's Australian Federal Police raid of his office and the homes of two of his staffers. Conroy has sent a letter to the Australian Federal Police (AFP), a procedural step required to …
NBN Logo

Australian Federal Police raid former comms minister's office

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has searched the offices of Senator Stephen Conroy, the former Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus has issued a statement about the “raid” on Conroy's office. Shadow AG Mark Dreyfus has released a statement regarding the AFP …
Simon Sharwood, 19 May 2016
Super-villain Dr Evil puts finger to lip in scheming manner, asks for one million dollars. Pic: New Line Cinema

Bitcoin-ransoming Romney tax 'hacker' faces 25 years inside

A self-confessed hacker who sought a million-dollar Bitcoin payment in exchange for then-US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's tax records has been found guilty of extortion and fraud. In August 2012 Michael Mancil Brown, 37, sent a letter to one of Romney's accountants, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), claiming to have hacked …
Iain Thomson, 17 May 2016
prison

Cyber-moolah boss gets 20 years' porridge for money laundering

The boss of virtual currency exchange Liberty Reserve has been sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined $500,000 after pleading guilty to money laundering. Ten years ago, Arthur Budovsky, now 42, set up Liberty Reserve in Costa Rica to exchange virtual currencies for dollars and euros, taking a one per cent transaction fee …
Iain Thomson, 09 May 2016
Android for cars

Android's security patch quagmire probed by US watchdogs

Mobile carriers and gadget makers will be investigated over how slow they push important software security patches to people. The probe will be carried out by US trade watchdog the FTC and America's internet mall cop the FCC. The two agencies will work together to scrutinize manufacturers of phones, tablets and other gear, …
Shaun Nichols, 09 May 2016