Articles about Feds

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 business compromise 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
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Government tips last dollars into NBN

Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) won't get anywhere near completion before direct government funding for the project dries up, the 2016 Budget reveals. It's even feasible that the government could throw its hands in the air and terminate the rollout, if the cost of doing so is less than the total cost of funding …
Internet anonymity

US govt quietly tweaks rules to let cops, Feds hack computers anywhere, anytime

On Thursday, the US Supreme Court approved a change to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. It sounds innocuous, but the effects will be felt around the world. Under today's rules, US cops and FBI agents need to know where a computer is before they can get a warrant to directly hack the machine – because they …
Iain Thomson, 29 Apr 2016
A Handful of Giant Weta by Mike Locke

US government tells Apple it has security problems that Apple fixed last year

Two years after the White House decided disclosure was better than bug-hoarding, the FBI has handed over its first notification to Apple. News of the bug report was given to Reuters, which says notifications describing the iPhone and Mac problems landed in Cupertino on April 14. The White House policy was articulated at the …

Docker hired private detectives to pursue woman engineer's rape, death threat trolls

Container software biz Docker hired private investigators to track down trolls after one of its popular engineers was harassed and bullied for being a woman. Jessie Frazelle, who was sent death and rape threats, last month quit the San Francisco-based upstart to work at Mesosphere. As word of her departure spread, Docker …
Iain Thomson, 26 Apr 2016

FBI ends second iPhone fight after someone, um, 'remembers' the PIN

For the second time, the FBI has dropped a legal attempt to force Apple to unlock an iPhone at the last minute. Earlier this month, the FBI backed away from the high-profile San Bernardino case the day before it was due in court by claiming it had paid a third party (apparently $1.2m) to unlock the phone. This time it's a …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Apr 2016

FBI boss: We paid at least $1.2m to crack the San Bernardino iPhone

Vid FBI director James Comey today suggested the Feds paid security experts over a million dollars to crack a San Bernardino killer's iPhone. While speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in the UK, Comey was asked how much his agents paid hackers to break into Syed Farook's iPhone 5C. "More than I will make in the remainder of this …
Chris Williams, 21 Apr 2016
Still from the Star Trek original series episode "arena" of enterprise using photon torpedo.  Pic copyright:  Paramount Pictures, CBS Studios

FBI's Tor pedo torpedoes torpedoed by United States judge

A ruling by a US federal judge could unravel as many as 1,200 criminal prosecutions of alleged pedophiles by the FBI. Massachusetts District Court Judge William Young today declared that the magistrate judge who issued a warrant authorizing the FBI to infect suspects' PCs with tracking malware lacked the proper authority to do …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Apr 2016
stack of newspapers view from the side

Feds OK to stalk phones

A court in Cincinnati, Ohio, has ruled that federal agents do not need to get a warrant before collecting people's whereabouts using their smartphones. The US Six Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the FBI was not in the wrong when in 2011 agents pulled the locational records of two men in a robbery investigation. Their …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Apr 2016
Brad Smith

Microsoft sues US DoJ for right to squeal when Feds slurp your data

Microsoft has sued the US Department of Justice (DoJ) over the software giant's right to alert users when their personal data has been accessed by cops and Feds. Redmond chief legal counsel Brad Smith announced on Tuesday that Microsoft will seek [PDF] a legal declaration confirming that it should not be silenced by …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Apr 2016
warrant

Warrant-less email snatching by cops, Feds under threat by draft law

The US House Judiciary Committee has unanimously approved the Email Privacy Act (EPA) – which will require the police and Feds to get a warrant before searching email accounts. Under the current rules established by the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), officers and agents only need a subpoena, which can be …
Iain Thomson, 14 Apr 2016

FBI 'zero-day iPhone hack'

The FBI bought security vulnerabilities from infosec professionals to crack the locked iPhone of San Bernardino killer Syed Farook, it is claimed. According to the Washington Post today, the Feds did not use the services of Cellebrite – previously rumored to have helped the g-men: The FBI cracked a San Bernardino terrorist’s …
Chris Williams, 13 Apr 2016
sign post pointing to trail in two different directions

IP address clerks RIPE: Feds, come back with a warrant, er, web browser

One of the five regional internet registries (RIRs), RIPE, has published its 2015 transparency report reviewing requests from law enforcement for information. You may be wondering what kind of information an RIR is capable of giving the authorities, since most information regarding the allocation of IP and AS numbers is …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Apr 2016

FBI, Apple continue cat-and-mouse game over iPhones in New York

Despite walking away from a high-profile confrontation, the FBI is not giving up on its cat-and-mouse game with Apple over access to iPhone data, and the issue has now moved to New York. On Friday, the Feds appealed a decision last month by a Brooklyn magistrate, James Orenstein, to reject their demand that Apple help them …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Apr 2016

Fake CEOs pilfer $2.3bn from US biz pockets in three years – Feds

Scammers have bilked American companies out of $2.3bn from 17,642 victims since 2013, the FBI has warned, and the problem is going to get worse before it gets better. Basically, the hustle works like this: miscreants pretending to be top bosses send emails to employees, particularly those handling sensitive financial …
Iain Thomson, 07 Apr 2016
James Comey

FBI Director defends iPhone 5C unlock tool that's obviously going to leak into wrong hands

FBI Director James Comey says the tool his agents bought and used to unlock the San Bernardino killer's iPhone will only work on a "narrow slice" of phones. On Wednesday, Comey gave a lecture at Ohio's Kenyon College's Center for the Study of American Democracy in which he said the exploit only works on iOS 9 iPhone 5Cs. Apple …
Iain Thomson, 07 Apr 2016
reddit wanted poster by Russia's telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor

Reddit's warrant canary shuffles off this mortal coil

It appears that Reddit has been the recipient of a National Security Letter, after the warrant canary it has published in its annual transparency reports has disappeared. A warrant canary is a technique whereby companies can get around the restrictions involved with National Security Letters, which typically bar the recipient …
Iain Thomson, 31 Mar 2016

The FBI lost this round against Apple – but it aims to win the war

Comment While fans of strong crypto and privacy are celebrating the US Department of Justice decision to back down in the San Bernardino case against Apple, it's important not to get too giddy – this is going to be a long battle and the FBI has nothing but time. The FBI still hasn't explained quite how it managed to unlock the …
Iain Thomson, 30 Mar 2016
Internet anonymity

FBI: Er, no, we won't reveal how we unmask and torpedo Tor pedos

The FBI is refusing to hand over details of the software it used to track and unmask anonymous viewers of a child sex abuse websites. The Feds said the details are irrelevant to the case. In February of 2015, the FBI seized the servers running a dark-web pedophile website called Playpen, described as the largest archive of its …
Iain Thomson, 29 Mar 2016
Uncle Sam recruiting poster

US govt says it has cracked killer's iPhone, legs it from Apple fight

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) says it no longer needs Apple to help unlock the iPhone 5C used by one of the San Bernardino killers. In a filing [PDF] made Monday to the Central California District Court, prosecutors say they have extracted data from the smartphone belonging to slain San Bernardino killer Syed Farook, thus …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Mar 2016

Israeli biz fingered as the FBI's iPhone cracker

An Israeli company has been identified by a newspaper as the "third party" helping the FBI break into a killer's locked iPhone – the phone Apple refused to work with. Cellebrite is a subsidiary of the Japanese Sun Corporation, is based in Israel, and has offices around the world. It was named by the Israeli newspaper Yedioth …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Mar 2016
Keep out sign with deleted expletive

Tor Project works on anti-FBI defenses amid iOS row with Apple

In a blog post timed for the start of Apple's now-delayed FBI showdown, Mike Perry, lead developer of Tor Browser, said the project is stepping up efforts to keep its anonymizing network free of government interference. The Feds' attempt to compel Apple to build a deliberately weakened version of iOS with its security …
Iain Thomson, 22 Mar 2016

FBI backs down against Apple: Feds may be able to crack killer's iPhone without iGiant's help

The FBI has come to a sudden and surprising all-stop in its legal war with Apple. Rather than compel the Cupertino giant to help it unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino killers, the Feds say they may be able to break into the handset without the company's assistance after all. In a filing [PDF] submitted …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Mar 2016

Feds raid 'extortionist' IT security biz Tiversa, CEO put on leave

The CEO of a controversial cybersecurity outfit has been put on leave following an FBI raid of its headquarters. Federal agents raided Tiversa's Pittsburgh office earlier this month looking for evidence in a long-running investigation of its business practices. Soon after the raid, CEO Robert Boback was placed on leave and …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Mar 2016
Apple's new Cupertino campus - rendering

Apple engineers rebel, refuse to work on iOS amid FBI iPhone battle

Apple's refusal to build a crippled iOS that will help the FBI unlock a killer's iPhone goes far beyond the executive suite. Some of Cupertino's own engineers are refusing to work on the operating system in case they are forced to aid the US government. Register sources familiar with the matter told us that, since the start of …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Mar 2016