keyloggers and remotely turning on the microphones in mobile phones, in order to spy on suspected criminals.
Computer viruses and spyware are an unavoidable part of life. You can protect against them, but they'll always be out there lurking.
The Wall Street Journal posted the story that FBI agents hacking people's Android devices and personal computers (PCs) using malware, so that they can turn the MIC on and listen in on conversations.
The FBI hires people who have been hacking skill, and they purchase tools that are capable of doing these things, and develop some hacking tools internally or purchases others from the private sector. It's also important to note that the US government is now the world's largest buyer of malware.
The FBI has also developed custom "port reader" software to intercept Internet metadata in real time and U.S. government is quietly pressuring telecommunications providers to install eavesdropping technology deep inside companies' internal networks to facilitate surveillance efforts.
The FBI has a history of technology-based surveillance. It also previously asked Internet companies to provide surveillance backdoors, stands to benefit from CISPA, and is also involved in the ongoing PRISM scandal alongside the NSA.
While most of the FBI's intrusion methods are top secret some of their practices have been discovered. The former FBI official who spoke to the Journal, claimed that the method is restricted to those associated with child pornography, organized crime, or counterterrorism.
"The bureau has controls to ensure only "relevant data" are scooped up, the person said. A screening team goes through all of the data pulled from the hack to determine what is relevant, then hands off that material to the case team and stops working on the case." he said.
Once data are collected, the virus sends the information to an independent screening team tasked with removing all irrelevant data swept up by the spyware. Evidence is then handed over to the primary investigators, who use the material to build criminal cases.
Unlike the NSA PRISM program the FBI Android and PC monitoring solutions are only activated with court order on a case-by-case basis. However, trust in the government is quite low these days, so it's unfortunate that most of us will hear this and wonder if the FBI is spying on the rest of us, too.