Articles about Investigators

Cops deploy StingRay anti-terror tech against $50 chicken-wing thief

Police in Maryland, US, used controversial cellphone-tracking technology intended only for the most serious crimes to track down a man who stole $50 of chicken wings. Police in Annapolis – an hour's drive from the heart of government in Washington DC – used a StingRay cell tower simulator in an effort to find the location of a …
Kieren McCarthy, 04 May 2016
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

Heathrow Airbus collision 'not a drone incident'

The UK's Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, has told Parliament that what was thought to be the Britain's first recorded incident of a collision between a UAV and an airliner was probably "not a drone incident" after all. A British Airways Airbus A320 flying in from Geneva was approaching Heathrow airport on 17 April …
Lester Haines, 28 Apr 2016

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

Net scum lock ancient Androids, force users to buy iTunes gift cards

Blue Coat researcher Andrew Brandt says ancient Androids can be hijacked with persistent ads that force victims to buy US$200 worth of iTunes gift cards. Brandt considers the spam as ransomware since it traps infected Androids in a locked screen state until victims buy attackers gift cards which would presumably be later …
Darren Pauli, 26 Apr 2016
United nations flag by https://www.flickr.com/photos/sanjit/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Secret UN report finds WIPO chief 'broke procurement rules'

The secret UN report into the behaviour of WIPO boss Francis Gurry has found him guilty of “conduct... inconsistent with the standards expected of a staff member of the World Intellectual Property Organisation.” The chair of WIPO's General Assembly Colombian ambassador Gabriel Duque is still refusing to release the full report …
John Oates, 25 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
Mitsubishi president bowing in apology

Mitsubishi 'fesses up: We lied in fuel tests to make our cars look great

Tetsuro Aikawa, president of Mitsubishi Motors Corp (MMC), gave a deep bow of apology at a press conference on Wednesday after admitting his firm had falsified fuel efficiency tests on at least 635,000 vehicles. "MMC conducted testing improperly to present better fuel consumption rates than the actual rates; and that the …
Iain Thomson, 20 Apr 2016
vestager_648

Official: EU goes after Google, alleges it uses Android to kill competition

The EU's competition authority thinks it has a smoking gun against Google. Consumers suffered because Google’s contracts with phone OEMs prevented the market from creating a better Android, the EU Commission alleged today. It has sent a formal Statement of Objections to Google that forces Google to come up with remedies or …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Apr 2016
management intelligence

Bio biz Theranos probed

Troubled blood-testing company Theranos has confirmed it is being investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Attorney's Office over claims it misled investors and government officials. In a letter to its partners, the company said it felt obliged to provide information on ongoing investigations …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Apr 2016

US congresscritter's iPhone hacked (with, er, the cell networks' help)

America's flagship news program 60 Minutes has demonstrated how to "hack" a US congressman's smartphone. One little thing to bear in mind about this incredible scoop: the vulnerability has been in circulation since 2014 ... and it requires high-level access to global phone networks. House representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) loaned …
Iain Thomson, 18 Apr 2016
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What's this about Canada reading your BlackBerry texts?

Reg Water Cooler – What's this about the Canadian Mounties hacking millions of BlackBerry messages or some crazy moose doodie like that? It's been reported today that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (aka Mounties, aka Poutine Po-Po) obtained a global decryption key for BlackBerry phones in 2010, and that they used the key to read intercepted …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Apr 2016

You won't believe this, but… nothing useful found on Farook iPhone

The iPhone at the center of the huge public fight between the FBI and Apple has "nothing of real significance" on it – just as we suspected. CBS News reports it has been told by a "law enforcement source" that the phone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook does not contain any information of practical assistance in the …
Kieren McCarthy, 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

Hackers hacking hackers to knacker white hat cracker trackers

ACSC2016 Malware writers are selling each other out to white hats and hacking through each other's infrastructure to frame rivals, Shadowserver's Richard Perlotto says. Richard Perlotto. Image: Darren Pauli, The Register. The treachery is a bid to prompt Shadowserver and fellow malware investigators to take down their rival's …
Darren Pauli, 14 Apr 2016

Would you let cops give your phone a textalyzer scan after a road crash?

Poll Drivers in New York may have their phones and gadgets scanned after crashes to see what they were doing moments before a prang. Law bill SB S6325A, if passed, will allow police to check a driver's smartphone for activity when an accident occurs. Investigators could then determine whether or not a motorist was illegally using …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Apr 2016

Texas Attorney General charged in 32-bit 'eco-friendly server scam'

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged the CEO of Texas server manufacturer Servergy, one of its board members, and the state's Attorney General with fraud over claims of revolutionary low-powered computer hardware. The SEC alleges that between 2009 and 2013 Servergy's then-CEO William Mapp misled …
Iain Thomson, 11 Apr 2016
Large leaver switch on a board of push button switches

Lotto 'jackpot fix' code

The Multi-State Lottery's former IT security boss Eddie Tipton smuggled code onto lotto machines that allowed him to predict the numbers drawn on certain days of the month. That's according to investigators in Iowa this week. In July, Tipton was found guilty of fraud in the US state, and was sent down for ten years, for …
Chris Williams, 08 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

Costa Rica launches investigation after reports hackers ‘rigged’ 2014 election

Costa Rica is to investigate whether hackers interfered with its 2014 elections. The investigation comes days after jailed hacker Andres Sepulveda claimed he had used black propaganda and other tactics in order to influence many electoral contests across Latin America over a run of eight years for 2005 until 2013. Sepulveda …
John Leyden, 08 Apr 2016
Paintings by George W Bush

George Bush naked selfie hacker Guccifer gets his day in US court

Marcel Lehel Lazăr, 44, who as the hacker Guccifer published the email account contents of senior US political figures, has appeared for the first time in a US court. The indictment claims that between December 2012 and January 2014, Lazăr used publicly available information and guesswork to get into email accounts via …
Iain Thomson, 05 Apr 2016

Just how close are Obama and Google? You won’t believe the answer

An ethics watchdog thinks that the FTC may have misled Congress about how it protected Google, and highlights how the White House went into panic mode to limit the damage to the giant ad slinger over a newspaper report last year. Last March, Google learned that the Wall Street Journal was about to publish details of how the …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Apr 2016

SEC chair blasts Silicon Valley for its hokey valuations

The chair of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has given Silicon Valley a poke in the eye concerning its over-valuation of tech stocks. Speaking at Stanford University in the heart of Silicon Valley, Mary Jo White warned that the federal regulator did not look kindly on the wild – and wildly inaccurate – self- …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Apr 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

Cunning scam: Mobe app stalks victims then emails booby-trapped bogus speeding tickets

Here's a smart scam that's cropped up on the US East Coast. It appears people have installed a free smartphone app – quite possibly a traffic monitoring tool – that keeps an eye on their whereabouts, and then emails them fake speeding tickets. Victims are tricked into thinking the messages are legit and have come from the cops …
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
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

Snowden WAS the Feds' quarry in Lavabit case, redaction blunder reveals

It was Edward Snowden's email account the FBI was targeting in its extraordinary legal case against Lavabit, we can now confirm. Lavabit ran an encrypted email service that Edward Snowden was thought to have used in 2013 to contact journalists about the top-secret NSA files he had in his possession. In documents published …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Mar 2016
Woman angrily hangs up phone. Photo via Shutterstock

Glasgow boiler firm in hot water for cold calls, cops £180K fine

A Glasgow-based boiler replacement firm has been fined £180,000 for its prolific and obnoxious nuisance call campaign. FEP Heatcare made 2.6 million unwanted calls, which played a recorded message promoting the company’s products and services. Its activities made it one of Britain’s most complained about nuisance callers. …
John Leyden, 17 Mar 2016

Middle-aged US bloke pleads guilty to iCloud celeb nude photo hack

A 36-year-old US man has admitted hacking into the iCloud and Gmail accounts of celebrities through a long-running phishing attack. Ryan Collins, from Lancaster in Pennsylvania, admitted he had illegally accessed and downloaded images from 50 iCloud accounts and 72 Gmail accounts that he had managed to compromise through …
John Leyden, 16 Mar 2016
Honey bee on flower

Dell offers sweet, sweet, free honeypot tool to trap hungry hackers

RSA 2016 Dell SecureWorks duo Joe Stewart and James Bettke have created a free honeypot loaded with fake domain credentials in a bid to help admins trap and block attackers. The researchers built the Domain Controller Enticing Password Tripwire (DCEPT) tool designed to help organisations unmask hackers and shore up defences ahead of …
Darren Pauli, 07 Mar 2016

Norman Conquest, King Edward, cyber pathogen and illegal gambling all emerge in Apple v FBI

Analysis OK, we got it: Apple good, FBI bad. But seeing as the court case between these two powerful institutions is taking on ever-increasing importance, we figured it was time to actually listen to what law enforcement has to say about the case of the locked phone. And the truth is, it makes a lot of sense. Certainly enough sense …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Mar 2016

French parliament votes to jail tech execs who refuse to decrypt data

The French parliament has voted in favor of punishing companies that refuse to decrypt data for government investigators – by threatening businesses with big fines and possible jail terms for staff. This comes amid the FBI's high-profile battle with Apple in the US to unlock a dead killer's encrypted iPhone. French deputies …
Iain Thomson, 04 Mar 2016

BlackEnergy malware activity spiked in runup to Ukraine power grid takedown

Fresh research has shed new light on the devious and unprecedented cyber-attack against Ukraine's power grid in December 2015. A former intelligence analyst has warned that launching similar attacks is within the capabilities of criminals, or perhaps even hacktivist groups, since most of the key components are readily …
John Leyden, 04 Mar 2016

Actual pirates hack shipping biz servers to pinpoint vessels carrying precious booty

Clever pirates have hacked into a shipping company to determine the location of valuable cargo before hijacking vessels in targeted attacks. The criminals popped the unnamed company's in-house content management system, using that access to determine which containers have the most valuable cargo. This made its hijacks faster …
Darren Pauli, 04 Mar 2016

Facebook's Latin America veep set free by appeals court

The Facebook executive briefly jailed in Brazil has been released. Zuck's veep for Latin America, Diego Dzodan, was locked up on March 1 for refusing to hand over WhatsApp user data to a drug investigation. An appeals court has now overturned the order that put Dzodan behind bars. Facebook has told Reuters “Diego's detention …
Kindle Big Brother

Gartner to FBI: Stop bullying Apple and the tech industry

Gartner veep and distinguished analyst Avivah Litan has told the FBI to “stop bullying Apple and the technology industry around” with regard to that iPhone. Litan writes that San Bernardino killer Syed Farook is known to have destroyed two private phones, so is unlikely to have sloppily left evidence on his work iPhone. She …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Mar 2016
A 'connected' TV watches over its owner. Pic via shutterstock

Law enforcement's next privacy overreach will be the metadata of things

Governments around the world are legislating to collect metadata, usually with the excuse that modern crime-fighting and national security efforts require access to records of citizens' communications. In many nations that's sparked what I call "horizontal" scope-creep, in which, as just one example, the Australian Health …

Apple fires legal salvo at FBI for using All Writs law in iPhone brouhaha

Apple has filed a motion to effectively bin an earlier court order forcing it to help the FBI break into a San Bernardino killer's iPhone. The Cupertino giant said the Feds' demands were a "wild overreach" and would grant the US government a "dangerous" power. The extensive motion to vacate [PDF] tears apart the FBI's claims …
Iain Thomson, 25 Feb 2016

Feds spank Asus with 20-year audit probe for router security blunder

Asus has settled its case with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after hackers pwned nearly 13,000 home routers via an unpatched security flaw. The case arose in February 2014, when miscreants used an easily exploitable flaw in Asus's home router line to take control of 12,900 systems in the US. An investigation by the FTC …
Iain Thomson, 23 Feb 2016
United Nations building photo Arnaldo Jr via Shutterstock

Secret UN report finds against controversial WIPO chief

Exclusive UN investigators have delivered their report into allegations of illegal behaviour at the World Intellectual Property Organisation. The report remains secret but Register sources in Geneva suggest it has come down heavily against WIPO's director general Francis Gurry. The probe is being carried out by the UN's Organisation of …
John Oates, 22 Feb 2016
Gold iPhone 5s, in'it?

FBI says it helped mess up that iPhone – the one it wants Apple to crack

The United State Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has absolved San Bernardino police of responsibility for changing passwords on the iPhone once used by suspected terror suspect, Syed Rizwan Farook. Last December, Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik killed 14 co-workers, before themselves being killed by Police. It's …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Feb 2016

Confused as to WTF is happening with Apple, the FBI and a killer's iPhone? Let's fix that

Water cooler: Everyone is losing their mind over Apple being forced to help the FBI unlock an iPhone. Just what is going on? Relax, don't spill your almond milk latte. We'll make it crystal clear for you. The FBI wants to unlock an iPhone 5C belonging to Syed Farook, who with his wife Tashfeen Malik shot and killed 14 coworkers in December …
Chris Williams, 17 Feb 2016
David Caruso as famously sunglasses-lowering cheeseball crime scene investigator Horatio Crane in CSI: Miami. Photo copyright CBS

CSI: Let's get out of the lab, interview the suspect, then do a warrantless search

Is CSI a real thing? No, I don't mean the American TV series about investigating crime scenes: that's clearly a very broad-strokes* take on a real job. I'm talking about Continual Service Improvement – that thing that you see on business cards and on LinkedIn profiles from time to time, and think to yourself: “Is that actually a …
Dave Cartwright, 10 Feb 2016

Scandal-smashed OPM will no longer do govt's background checks – for obvious reasons

The US government is creating a new agency to process background checks for federal employees and contractors seeking security clearance. The Obama administration said it will instruct the Department of Defense (DoD) to oversee the establishments of the National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB). The new agency will take …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Jan 2016
broken hard drive

IRS 'inadvertently' wiped hard drive Microsoft demanded in audit row

The IRS has declined to produce data in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) battle between itself and Microsoft – because the taxmen deleted the information after receiving the information request. In a filing [PDF] to the US District Court of Western Washington this month, Uncle Sam's Internal Revenue Service said it would be …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Jan 2016

Prez Obama sends Iranian defense hacker home in prisoner swap

An Iranian hacker who attempted to steal military secrets from an American company has been sent back to the Islamic republic with a pardon, as part of a prisoner exchange program. Nima Golestaneh, 30, was extradited to the US from Turkey last year after being fingered for a hacking attack against US defense contractor Arrow …
Iain Thomson, 19 Jan 2016