FBI – Wiretapping of Microphones.
Ever since the PRISM Affair by whistleblower Edward Snowden and the latest, partly shocking, information about the NSA project “XKeyscore“, while being faced with some obvious lies by the chief of the NSA at a speech about XKeyscore and PRISM at the “Black hat” hacker conference in Las Vegas, there are now almost daily new reports on “sniffer activities” by U.S. intelligence agencies.
Now it is said that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has focuses on various “hacker tactics” in order to monitor conversations and other things.
As the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) now reports, the U.S. investigators of the FBI have increasingly used methods that one would normally associate more with criminal hackers or crackers.
The known newspaper Wall Street Journal (WSJ) refers on several researches in various court documents and interviews with involved people, who prefer not to be named for obvious reasons in its new report about this specific monitoring project of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States.
According to the interesting report of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the (court approved) use of hacking tools have basically increased in recent times because the authorities would have to use such technics in order to stick with the use of modern communication technologies by the suspects.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports further that this also includes the hidden access to online chat rooms and the use of several encryption tools. Such tools are either developed by the FBI itself or these tools are bought by third-party supplier from the private sector.
Interesting is, above all, a specific method of the FBI: According to the report and sources of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was able to tap the microphones of Android smartphones in order to listen to the ongoing talks and to record the conversation if needed.
The informant of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), a former government employee, further said that the authorities could also perform such a tapping of resources at notebooks and laptops with microphones (and probably webcams…). And all this, according to the former government employee, without that the user of the device (e.g. Android smartphone, Laptop / Notebook) is able to notice the tapping of the built-in microphone in his device.
They say that these methods are primarily used in the investigations against organized crime, child abuse and terrorism, of course. In the investigations against Hackers, however, the U.S. authorities (FBI, NSA…) are afraid to use such methods because they fear that the Hackers will notice the tapping and will inform the public about this kind of method.
In addition, the U.S. authorities also actively exploit bugs and security holes of internet websites and scripts. Of course, the FBI and NSA also hire qualified staff with “hacking skills” in order to carry out the several monitoring activities as well as the tapping of private microphones in investigations against alleged suspects.
However, the question remains whether all the tapped microphones were and are really the built-in microphones in devices of guilty ones (suspects) in investigations about child abuse, terrorism and organized crime or whether the U.S. authorities did the same as they did it with the “XKeyscore” project – a lot of monitoring and research about individuals without the authorisation by courts and relevant institutions.