The FBI's mountain of uncrackable crimephones was nearly entirely imaginary

The FBI has been trying to ban working cryptography since the Clinton years, a losing battle whose stakes go up with each passing day as the number of devices that depend on working crypto to secure them and their users goes up and up and up. Read the rest

Joshua Schulte named as suspect in 'Vault 7' leak of CIA tools to Wikileaks, but charged instead over child porn

Federal investigators believe a man who once worked for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is responsible for last year's massive leak of Top Secret CIA hacking tools, court documents reveal. Read the rest

Individual FBI agents can be sued for blackmailing potential informants with no-fly list threats

It's been three years since the filing of a suit against the FBI after agents put several Muslims on the No Fly list to retaliate against their refusal to be conscripted as a confidential informants spying on other Muslims; the FBI's illegal retaliation cost their victims their jobs, subjected them to harassment, and cut them off from visits to family overseas. Read the rest

Paul Manafort was interviewed twice by FBI years before he joined Trump's political campaign

The FBI interviewed Paul Manafort two times when he worked as a consultant for a political party in Ukraine aligned with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in March 2013 and July 2014--that's long before Manafort teamed up with Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. Read the rest

FBI, DHS, and UK cyber agency warn of Russia internet attack that targets routers

The United States and Britain today accused Russia of launching a new wave of internet-based attacks targeting routers, firewalls and other computer networking equipment used by government agencies, businesses and critical infrastructure operators around the globe. Read the rest

Some Republicans fear that Cohen had taped conversations between himself and Trump that were seized by FBI

On Monday the FBI raided Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's office and home, and now some in the Trump camp worry that Cohen could have had tapes between himself and Trump.

After all, Cohen "had a reputation among campaign staff as someone to avoid, in part because he was believed to be secretly taping conversations," according to the Washington Post. He is known as someone who tapes conversations, stores them, and then plays them back to colleagues.

“We heard he had some proclivity to make tapes,” said one Trump adviser, according to the Washington Post. “Now we are wondering, who did he tape? Did he store those someplace where they were actually seized? . . . Did they find his recordings?”

It is unknown whether Cohen taped conversations between himself and Trump. But two people familiar with Cohen’s practices said he recorded both business and political conversations. One associate said Trump knew of Cohen’s practice because the attorney would often play him recordings Cohen had made of his conversations with other top Trump advisers.

“It was his standard practice to do it,” this person said.

Legal experts said Cohen’s taped conversations would be viewed by prosecutors as highly valuable.

“If you are looking for evidence, you can’t do any better than people talking on tape,” said Nick Akerman, a former Watergate prosecutor.

Such recordings “would be considered a gold mine,” said Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University who specializes in legal ethics.

And so, if there are indeed any such tapes, it makes sense that Cohen is scrambling today to get a restraining order against the use of any materials found in Monday's FBI raid. Read the rest

Lawsplaining the FBI raid on Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen

Ken "Popehat" White (previously) is a former US federal prosecutor whose explanations of the minutae of law have been invaluable to my understanding of the legal controversies swirling around Trump and his retinue. Read the rest

FBI raids the office of Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen

Today the FBI raided the office of Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen. They seized various documents, including information related to porn actress Stormy Daniels, aka Stephanie Clifford.

According to the New York Times, who first reported on the story:

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan obtained the search warrant after receiving a referral from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, according to Mr. Cohen’s lawyer, who called the search “completely inappropriate and unnecessary.” The search does not appear to be directly related to Mr. Mueller’s investigation, but likely resulted from information he had uncovered and gave to prosecutors in New York...

The payments to Ms. Clifford are only one of many topics being investigated, according to a person briefed on the search. The F.B.I. also seized emails, tax documents and business records, the person said.

And according to CNN, Trump knew about the raid before it was reported, and, of course, kept up with the story by watching reports about it on TV.

Image: IowaPolitics.com - Trump executive Michael Cohen 014, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link Read the rest

Geek Squad's secret spying on behalf of the FBI went on for a decade and involved constant, ongoing collaboration

A 2017 prosecution of a California doctor charged with possessing child pornography revealed that the FBI had been tipped off by a Best Buy technician the doctor had paid to service his computer; the technician had searched his computer and then provided evidence to the FBI, sidestepping the need for the FBI to obtain a warrant. Read the rest

Dirty #NunesMemo trick worked: 3 out of 4 Trump voters now believe FBI biased against Trump

Huffington Post and YouGov did a survey around the so-called 'Nunes memo' political stunt from last week, and found some that some 75% of Americans who voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections now believe the FBI is biased against him. Read the rest

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe stepping down effective today

Under increasing pressure from President Donald Trump, Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe is leaving his post effective today, multiple news outlets are reporting this morning. Read the rest

NERD HARDER! FBI Director reiterates faith-based belief in working crypto that he can break

Working cryptography's pretty amazing: because of its fundamental theoretical soundness, we can trust it to secure the firmware updates to our pacemakers; the conversations we have with our loved ones, lawyers and business colleagues; the financial transactions the world depends on; and the integrity of all sorts of data, communications and transactions. Read the rest

The FBI and the New York Times warn that smart toys are emissaries from the Internet of Shit

One by one, the New York Times warns of the dangers of every hot smart toy your kids are begging for this Xmas: Furbies, Cayla, kids' smart watches, the ubiquitous Vtech toys (they omit the catastrophic Cloudpets, presumably because that company is out of business now). Read the rest

Property of the People sues the FBI for details on "Gravestone," its reassuringly named secret mass-surveillance tool

In 2016, the watchdog group Property of the People discovered a secret FBI spying program called Gravestone, a mention of which slipped into the metadata of a document on the DoJ's website. Read the rest

Source tells WSJ that the FBI is investigating Whitefish Energy and its $300M Puerto Rico contract

Whitefish Energy's had quite a week: last week the two-person company from Whitefish, Montana (hometown of Trump Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke) was awarded a $300M contract to help rebuild the power-grid in Puerto Rico, with some very favorable terms including $462/hour for subcontracted supervisors, no penalties for nonperformance, and a guarantee that the government wouldn't audit its expenditures. Read the rest

The FBI's Nikola Tesla files

The FBI published 160 pages of its files on inventor Nikola Tesla last year, responding to a Freedom of Information Act request. It's gone viral, perhaps due to the slavering anticipation of the forthcoming JFK Assassination files release.[via]

Yes to Peace Rays! Read the rest

After Defcon, the FBI arrested the UK national who stopped Wannacry

Update: Here is the indictment. Hutchins is accused of making and selling a keylogger called the "Kronos banking trojan."

Marcus Hutchins is the 23 year old security researcher behind the @MalwareTechBlog Twitter account; he's the guy who figured out that the Wannacry worm had an accidental killswitch built in and then triggered it, stopping the ransomware epidemic in its tracks. Read the rest

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