Hacker Exposes FBI’s ‘Stalkerware’ – It Can Grab Your Messages, Track You And Listen Thru Your Phone

Written by K. Walker on February 23, 2018

Are we ready to start caring about government violations of that Fourth Amendment yet?

It began as a handy tool for keeping tabs on the kids. It became something MUCH more sinister than that. ‘Stalkerware’.

It’s not just our smart TV that could be ratting you out to the government anymore.

It’s your phone, too.

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With a lot more detail than you might think.

Dozens of employees from US federal law enforcement agencies and the armed forces have bought smartphone malware that can, in some cases, intercept Facebook messages, track GPS locations, and remotely activate a device’s microphone, according to a large cache of data stolen by a hacker and obtained by Motherboard.

The news highlights the popularity of consumer spyware not just among the general population, but also with members of the US government.

Isn’t this exactly why conservatives and libertarians tend to want SMALLER and MORE accountable government agencies?

The company is called Mobistealth. Its popularity has been rising among jealous spouses suspecting infidelity. Like hiring a Private Eye, without having to pay for him.

It can give you access to texts.

Contained in the Mobistealth data are customer accounts linked to email addresses from the FBI, DHS, TSA, ICE, and several different branches of the military. It’s not clear whether the individuals paid for the malware themselves or through their respective organizations.

But at least 40 of the Mobistealth accounts were connected to the US Army.
Source: Vice

When Mobistealth, and a similar company got hacked, that’s what was discovered.

The hacker behind the breach told Motherboard, in sum, that hacking Mobistealth as well as another spyware company they targeted was relatively easy. That brings up all sorts of questions not only about why officials purchased the malware, but the potential consequences of buying sensitive tools from such vulnerable companies, especially while using their own government email addresses. Data showing an official bought a piece of malware for potentially illegal purposes could leave them open to blackmail. In the reverse, another spyware company data breach previously obtained by Motherboard showed the malware had been deployed on a law enforcement officer’s phone, exposing photos related to live investigations of suspects.

…It’s possible to cross reference different parts of the hacked data to see what type of phone each customer wanted to monitor. For example, taking the IMEI—a unique number given to each phone—that an FBI account is linked to, and searching for it in another database, shows the official bought software to surveill a BlackBerry phone. Army members monitored a selection of Android and iPhone devices.
Source: Vice

If there are even more ways for data to be exploited than we had first imagined, shouldn’t we take those who cut corners on using secure devices far more seriously?

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ClashDaily's Associate Editor since August 2016. Self-described political junkie, anti-Third Wave Feminist, and a nightmare to the 'intersectional' crowd. Mrs. Walker has taken a stand against 'white privilege' education in public schools. She's also an amateur Playwright, occasional Drama teacher, and staunch defender of the Oxford comma. Follow her humble musings on Twitter: @TheMrsKnowItAll

 

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