FBI Uses Computer Hacking Techniques In Organized Crime, Porn, Terror Cases


Law-enforcement officials are expanding use of tools used by computer hackers to gather information on suspects, bringing the criminal wiretap into the cyber age, reports the Wall Street Journal. Officials have kept quiet about these capabilities, but court documents and interviews provide new details about hacking tools that include spyware delivered to computers and phones through email or Web links. The use of hacking tools under court orders has grown as agents try to keep up with suspects who use new technology, including some types of online chat and encryption tools. The use of communications that can’t be wiretapped like a phone is called “going dark” among law enforcement. The FBI develops some hacking tools internally and buys others from the private sector. The bureau typically uses hacking in cases involving organized crime, child pornography, or counterterrorism. It is unlikely to use these tools when investigating hackers, out of fear the suspect will discover and publicize the technique.

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