Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The FBI's Spyware: Is it Watching You?

The FBI's Spyware: Is it Watching You?

Jul 19th 2007 11:02AM
by Terrence O'Brien

Privacy advocates, prepare thy letter writing hands. A student at Timberline High School, outside Seattle, Washington, has recently been arrested for calling in repeated bomb threats. That, you should have no problem with.

The scary part is the manner in which he was caught and convicted. Josh Glazebook, 15, taunted authorities via e-mail and even created a MySpace profile called Timberlinebombinfo (shown), which used the alias Doug. It's through this profile that the FBI was able to track down Josh.

Using a fake profile, the FBI sent a message to Timberlinebombinfo that installed a hacker-style trojan horse on his PC. The FBI spyware collected a wide range of information including the computer's IP address, MAC address, open ports, a list of running programs, the operating system type, version and serial number, preferred Internet browser and version, the computer's registered owner and registered company name, the current logged-in user name, the last-visited URL and the IP Address of every computer it connects to. Phew...

The FBI was able to install this program without a suspect or wiretap warrant because "under a ruling this month by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ... Internet users have no 'reasonable expectation of privacy' in the data when using the Internet."

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