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FBI software cracks encryption wall
November 20, 2001 8:42 PM   Subscribe

FBI software cracks encryption wall The FBI is developing software capable of inserting a computer virus onto a suspect’s machine and obtaining encryption keys...
posted by Brilliantcrank (7 comments total)

 
Its a keylogger. Eventually it'll be isolated by some anti-virus company. I wonder if they will put it on their definitions list or just ignore it as a favor to the feds.
posted by skallas at 8:45 PM on November 20, 2001


Heck, if the FBI is using carnivore they could insert a keylogger virus into any .exe that is being downloaded, such as an explorer update, security patches, in addition to adding it to email.

I guess the only way around this is to copy your encrypted email onto a floppy and do all your encryption/decryption on a seperate computer, an old pentium 120 could serve as this. I would keep the pentium 120's hard drive locked in some safe when not in use, and everything on that encrypted too.
posted by bobo123 at 8:56 PM on November 20, 2001


I guess Will Hunting took that job after all.
posted by scarabic at 8:58 PM on November 20, 2001


I guess the only way around this is to copy your encrypted email onto a floppy a
That, or use a secure/obscure operating system. I doubt that they'll port their software to OS/2 Warp.
posted by holloway at 9:01 PM on November 20, 2001


If they can't insert the virus, they'll just have to get a warrant as in the Scarfo case and sneak in overnight to install the keylogger themselves.

The question I have is how they would make it virus-deployable, but keep the virus from spreading. Technically it wouldn't be a virus, but a one-time Trojan, though, from the description. If it doesn't spread, antivirus companies won't likely ever find it in the wild.
posted by dhartung at 9:35 PM on November 20, 2001


"how they would make it virus-deployable" perhaps it is tailor-made, so to say, for a certain system.
posted by clavdivs at 7:10 AM on November 21, 2001


First, security through obscurity rarely works. Look at the telco switching systems--obscure, difficult to find, but hacked nonetheless. Secondly, keyloggers have been around forever. If these recent cases were the FBI's first attempt as using keyloggers, I would be shocked.

A smart suspect would not run their encryption software on a networked machine. Mail from Aunt Pat + encrypted illegal activities = disastrous for suspect. And there are ways around the installation of keyloggers during a raid. It may get installed, but I imagine that a savvy criminal could tell what processes/software runs on their machines and whether it has changed.
posted by xyzzy at 7:43 AM on November 21, 2001


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