FBI employs hackers, has software that can remotely activate cell phone, laptop microphones and more
Friday, August 2, 2013
A new report reveals that the FBI directly employs multiple hackers who create custom surveillance software for the bureau, some of which is capable of remotely activating the microphones on cell phones and laptops, among other features.
The FBI is known for using technology shrouded in secrecy, some of which is based on legal grounds which have been questioned by critics with some maintaining that the FBI deceived judges in deploying it.
Malicious software, or malware, aimed at enabling government surveillance has also been heavily marketed directly to the US government.
It’s also important to note that the US government is now the world’s largest buyer of malware.
Yet the government doesn’t just buy software from the private sector, anonymous former US officials told the Wall Street Journal that the FBI also “employs a number of hackers who write custom surveillance software.”
Some of this software is capable of remotely activating microphones in the many smartphones running Google’s Android operating system and recording conversations, according to one former US official.
The FBI can also remotely activate laptop microphones without the user’s knowledge, according to the same official. Unsurprisingly, Google would not comment.
The FBI “hires people who have hacking skill, and they purchase tools that are capable of doing these things,” a former official in the bureau’s cyber division said.