Showing posts with label FBI. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FBI. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hacking the Hackers

The Los Angeles Times reports on a new online security company called CrowdStrike founded by the former chief technology officer at McAfee Inc., George Kurtz.  Also joining CrowdStrike is the former head of the FBI's Cyber Crimes Division, Shawn Henry.
CrowdStrike is at the forefront of a novel business model for cybersecurity, one that identifies sophisticated foreign attackers trying to steal U.S. intellectual property and uses the attackers' own techniques and vulnerabilities to thwart them.  The firm is marketing itself as a private cyber intelligence agency, staking out networks to catch infiltrators, assembling dossiers on hackers and fooling intruders into stealing bogus data.
CrowdStrike, which employs Chinese linguists and former U.S. government agents, also has identified Chinese hackers using clues in their malware.   It then profiles them — complete with real names and photos — using information gathered from a variety of sources.
That has helped the company, for example, identify a Chinese hacker who targeted financial institutions and tends to seek merger and acquisition information.  Profiles enable a more targeted defense by helping CrowdStrike know when an attacker is likely to strike, how he communicates, what malware he uses and how he tries to take the stolen data.
Some experts believe CrowdStrike and other companies should be able to "hack back" by, for example, disabling servers that host cyber attacks, whether they are in the U.S. or abroad.  But this approach is not without critics, who worry how far companies might go down the road of cyber vigilantism.
The Justice Department has said hacking back may be illegal under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a 1996 law that prohibits accessing a computer without authorization.  Many lawyers liken it to the principle that a person can't use "self-help" to legally break into his neighbor's house, even if he sees his stolen television in the neighbor's living room.

But what happens when the authorities themselves are unable, or unwilling, to cope with the threat that such hackers present?  

Critics worry that third party servers may be affected, or that attacks on Chinese or Russian-controlled computers could trigger an international incident.  What do you think?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

FBI Shuts Down Major Android Application Piracy Sites

On August 21, the FBI announced that it had seized,, and with the cooperation of domestic and foreign governments, for offering illegally pirated android applications in violation of copyright laws.
Between the three sites, they hosted more than 50,000 cracked applications and games, and had collectively over 120,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter.
Prior to the execution of warrants and the seizure of the domain names, FBI agents downloaded thousands of "popular copyrighted mobile device apps" from the alternative online markets.
Apparently these applications were stored on web servers outside the U.S., which required the cooperation of Dutch and French law enforcement agencies.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

FBI Now Permits Use of Government Seal by All Copyright Owners

The official Anti-Piracy Warning (APW) Seal, seen above, has been approved by the U.S. Attorney General as an official insignia of the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Previously, use of the Anti-Piracy Warning Seal previously was limited to entertainment and software industry associations that had entered into written agreements with the FBI.  It became an ubiquitous symbol at the beginning of movies on VHS and DVD's.

However, as of this Monday, any copyright holder from any sector, regardless of membership in a formal association, can obtain the seal by checking off a box to confirm consent with a list of prohibitions and conditions.  The terms of use cite, among other things, that holders cannot animate or alter the emblem, or use it on child pornography.

The seal is part of a public awareness campaign to remind consumers they are subject to fines or jail time for intellectual property infringement.  Copyrighted works include films, audio recordings, electronic media, software, books and photographs.

The symbol does not provide greater legal protections for owners or signal additional penalties for violators.

Rather, the official insignia “simply serves as a widely recognizable reminder of the FBI’s authority and mission with respect to the protection of intellectual property rights,” bureau officials said in a statement.

Lawful use requires the below authorized text to be placed immediately adjacent to Seal on the copyrighted work:

The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by fines and federal imprisonment.