While the National Security Agency has gotten most of the recent flak for spying on people via the Internet and cell phone records, the Federal Bureau of Investigation appears to be doing some cyber spying of its own.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the FBI has been allegedly developing surveillance tools that work much like what hackers use to collect information on suspects — including Trojans, spyware, and malware. Supposedly, the FBI created some of these tools internally, while others were purchased.
The FBI “hires people who have hacking skill, and they purchase tools that are capable of doing these things,” a former official in the agency’s cyber division told the Journal. The official also said that these tools are only used when other surveillance methods won’t work.
The most alarming technology mentioned by the Wall Street Journal is a tool that allegedly lets the FBI remotely activate the microphones in Android devices. Once activated, the bureau can record conversations without the device’s owner knowing. Apparently this tool can do the same thing with laptop microphones.