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Insight On FBI Hacking Ops

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the send-spike-...-spike-sent dept.

Government 137

New submitter krakman writes "The Washington Post has an interesting story about how the FBI can investigate and collect details from computers over the net, without knowing anything about the computer location. Here's an example of the FBI's network investigative techniques: 'The man who called himself "Mo" had dark hair, a foreign accent and — if the pictures he e-mailed to federal investigators could be believed — an Iranian military uniform. When he made a series of threats to detonate bombs at universities and airports across a wide swath of the United States last year, police had to scramble every time. Mo remained elusive for months, communicating via e-mail, video chat and an Internet-based phone service without revealing his true identity or location, court documents show. ... The FBI’s elite hacker team designed a piece of malicious software that was to be delivered secretly when Mo signed on to his Yahoo e-mail account, from any computer anywhere in the world, according to the documents. The goal of the software was to gather a range of information — Web sites he had visited and indicators of the location of the computer — that would allow investigators to find Mo and tie him to the bomb threats. ... Even though investigators suspected that Mo was in Iran, the uncertainty around his identity and location complicated the case. Had he turned out to be a U.S. citizen or a foreigner living within the country, a search conducted without a warrant could have jeopardized his prosecution. ...But, [a court document] said, Mo’s computer did send a request for information to the FBI computer, revealing two new IP addresses in the process. Both suggested that, as of last December, Mo was still in Tehran.'"

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Happy Saturday from The Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45629291)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

now Mo is famous (2)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 10 months ago | (#45629319)

that might have been all he wanted.

Re:now Mo is famous (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45630067)

Fame brings mo money.

Re:now Mo is famous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45630791)

"mo money mo problems" - kurt kobain

The F.B.I. Face Book, Inc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45629333)

N/T

You're all faggots! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45629341)

You should be sent to a concentration camp and forced to work until you die.

paragraph (2)

Saethan (2725367) | about 10 months ago | (#45629365)

There is a thing as a paragraph tag. Did not read.

Re:paragraph (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45629719)

There is a thing as a paragraph tag. Did not read.

This is a perennial issue with Slashdot's accepted summaries; it's been mentioned in the past in the comments on several occasions. Time and energy spent on meticulously formatting the submission is for naught —.the accepted version becomes a one paragraph slab of unformated text.

Although I've found from my own experience the problem is true, some kind of workaround with blockquotes might help; unless the editors feel otherwise or have something else in mind.

So VirtualBox to the rescue? (3, Funny)

Rigel47 (2991727) | about 10 months ago | (#45629369)

Sounds like all "Mo" needed to do was pull his antics via VirtualBox with some firewall rules in place to block any outbound but to Yahoo or whatever his preferred launching pad was for his juvenile noise. Sheesh.

Also can't shake the image of Moe Sizlack, the Simpson's bartender, muttering to himself as he sends off the next faux threat.

Re:So VirtualBox to the rescue? (1)

khasim (1285) | about 10 months ago | (#45629419)

Or if he had any skill at all he'd have cracked another computer and bounced all the traffic through the zombie.

And now the world has an example of FBI virus to dissect.

Couldn't the FBI just ask Yahoo! for the IP address of the account that sent those messages?

Re:So VirtualBox to the rescue? (2)

davidhoude (1868300) | about 10 months ago | (#45629497)

I think you are making a lot of assumptions here. Now, I will make my own now. He did bounce his connection, and that is why they needed to use a trojan aimed at his account. I doubt it took the FBI that long to track someone who was not trying to hide.

Re:So VirtualBox to the rescue? (1)

khasim (1285) | about 10 months ago | (#45629745)

I doubt it took the FBI that long to track someone who was not trying to hide.

I don't have that much faith in the FBI. If anything, the ease with which they can gather as much data as they do would indicate that they just aren't very good at targeted objectives.

Now, I will make my own now. He did bounce his connection, and that is why they needed to use a trojan aimed at his account.

In which case he'd have the same results using Tor. And that takes a lot less skill.

Instead, if he had any competency he'd be using a cracked system so that any compromises would happen on the cracked system. And he'd use a command and control protocol that was different than the HTTP used to connect to Yahoo!.

Re:So VirtualBox to the rescue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45629931)

" the ease with which they can gather as much data as they do would indicate that they just aren't very good at targeted objectives. "
-No, they sift through it as a secondary process, getting everything is important. Details matter obviously. That doesn't speak to their efficacy at all.

"In which case he'd have the same results using Tor. And that takes a lot less skill."
-Relying on TOR is not a real strategy to hide from the FBI.

And you have no idea what protocols he utilized.

THE HTTPONIEZ (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45630707)

Seriously? Tor? So you missed the story about how more than half the Tor exit nodes ARE FBI computers?
Dude, you know jack shit about protocols or else you wouldn't have mentioned it because it is irrelevant. You are just throwing words out there because you have "doubt." Well I don't give a shit, you already expressed your doubt with the fist sentence and it was stupid there too.
Competency, something you and Mo both lack. He took all these steps to hide himself, and still used Yahoo! to communicate some of his threats which is a US company and has to comply with FBI orders.

LOL "he'd use a command and control protocol that was different than the HTTP" OMG STOP YOUR KILLIN ME! BWAHAHAHAHA "THE HTTP!"

Re:So VirtualBox to the rescue? (3, Insightful)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 10 months ago | (#45630015)

Couldn't the FBI just ask Yahoo! for the IP address of the account that sent those messages?

I have one question (well, OK, lots of them, but meh).

Why the *hell* are we asking a domestic LE agency, the FBI , about this instead of the foreign data/signals intelligence agency, the damned NSA that supposedly exercises all this surveillance apparatus abusing everyone's 4A rights just for such foreign threats?

Really, WTF?

It seems like the FBI is chasing foreign enemies while the NSA is data-mining the shit out of the domestic population.

Some kind of kinky "role-reversal play' among government agencies?

Or a clear indication of who they believe is the real threat to their goals of more power, control, and wealth?

Strat

Re:So VirtualBox to the rescue? (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 10 months ago | (#45630169)

I couldn't agree more.

Perhaps we are seeing a domestic LEA heading being used for a much larger apparatus though. I mean if the FBI contracted with private entities, it still would be considered the FBI doing it. So if the FBI said to the NSA or CIA, we have this domestic issue but it appears to be originating from overseas and the NSA steps in to do the dirty work, it could still be claimed that the FBI did it just like if they contracted with some private company.

But as it appears, we wouldn't know if there was any inter-agency cooperation happening like that from the wordings available and it does appear as if they FBI duplicated the efforts of the NSA and other signtel efforts. If nothing else, a total and complete waste of resources and efforts and a situation that could allow another 9/11 or Boston bombing to happen when different 3 letter agencies do not communicate and share information like this. I would think someone making direct threats would be cause for the cooperation to be unquestioned.

Re:So VirtualBox to the rescue? (1)

ron_ivi (607351) | about 10 months ago | (#45630269)

Some kind of kinky "role-reversal play' among government agencies?

I imagine it's more some turf war / battle over budgets.

Remember back in in 2008, when the FBI wanted the right to monitor all internet traffic [cnet.com] ("The surveillance should include all Internet traffic, Mueller said, whether it be .mil, .gov, .com--whichever network you're talking about.")? Apparently the NSA got an even bigger budget for that project than the FBI did [wikipedia.org] , and I imagine the FBI's been jealous ever since.

Ever since news about how guys like Chalabi would play the State Department, Pentagon, and CIA off of each other [salon.com] , I've wondered how many of the world's conflicts are actually DNI(CIA) vs DoD(DIA)

Applies even more to internet hacking, where 4 of the 10 biggest hacker groups in the world are almost certaily DNI(CIA), DoD(DIA), DoJ(FBI), and DHS(NCSD). (probably all working under the alias "anonymous")

Re:So VirtualBox to the rescue? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 10 months ago | (#45631717)

The FBI is, in theory, suppose to investigate any crimes on US soil that are not under state jurisdiction. As the bomb threat was made across state lines, that makes it a crime for the FBI to be concerned with.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if this was a 'parallel construction' situation - the NSA helped with the tracking, but asked that their involvement be kept unofficial.

The NSA isn't suppose to be involved in law enforcement, but the lines are always hazy. Especially these days. A lot of things that would once have been considered simple domestic crimes are now being reclassified as terrorism - it makes it easier to get resources for the investigation and lets the prosecutors pile on more charges, and avoid awkward legal issues like needing warrants.

Re:So VirtualBox to the rescue? (2)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about 10 months ago | (#45630367)

Lots of weird stuff happens with FBI, and other, cases and has been happening for years. A case I am researching now, from the early 1970s, the suspect (later plead guilty) had a fingerprint card with the US Army from the 1950s. He had another Army fingerprint card from 1971, under an alias. His first bomb exploded in a bank while he was in basic training, under the false enlistment. His fingerprints were all over the bank documents and bombs. His latent prints were not matched to his known prints until after the FBI linked the alias and address he used for renting the bank boxes to his real name. That linkage came from a mail forwarding card he left in Chicago, to forward his alias addressed mail to a boarding house in Berkeley, where he rented under his real name. Also, his US Army alias identity may not have been discovered if he had not gone AWOL and that card sent to the FBI because of that crime. He had an FBI file for at least three years before becoming a bombing suspect too.

This is the same FBI that was claiming it could match any latent print to a known, classified print in 3 minutes. Oh, also he was issued at least three passports, one under his real name and two under aliases. One was his US Army alias, using his US Army ID, and another under the alias he used in Los Angeles for the 14 years he escaped apprehension.

Re:So VirtualBox to the rescue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45629703)

Also can't shake the image of Moe Szyslak, the Simpson's bartender, muttering to himself as he sends off the next faux threat.

FTFY!

Pics or it didn't happen? [tumblr.com]

Re:So VirtualBox to the rescue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45629787)

Sure. All he needed to do was run a program with root access to his computer and somehow protect his location.

Hint: Virtualization software has root access to your entire system

This is why warrantless searches are OK! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45629377)

"Had he turned out to be a U.S. citizen or a foreigner living within the country, a search conducted without a warrant could have jeopardized his prosecution"

It is almost like there's no possible way they could get a warrant on this guy, right? So, clearly, this is just another example of why the government can completely ignore the 4th amendment for your own protection. Requesting a warrant is WAY harder than writing and distributing a complex piece of malware such as is described and might have slowed them down by about 12 seconds. Of course, the cost is only the destruction of rights for a few hundred million people; no big deal.

Axis of evil, again (0)

tftp (111690) | about 10 months ago | (#45629399)

I guess people started to forget that Iran is the arch-nemesis of the entire free world. An article to the rescue, about how the infinitely wise and well prepared TLA saved the day by outsmarting a dumb terrorist who is hiding in the darkest corner of the most dangerous country in the world. (No, that's not Chicago, if you wonder.)

Re:Axis of evil, again (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 10 months ago | (#45629447)

If Iran is the kind of arch nemesis the Free World gets nowadays, why is everyone so worried?

Re:Axis of evil, again (4, Insightful)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 10 months ago | (#45629833)

I guess people started to forget that Iran is the arch-nemesis of the entire free world.

If Iran is the kind of arch nemesis the Free World gets nowadays, why is everyone so worried?

Right, like what has Iran ever done to the US and the West, anyway?

I mean, besides supplying training, logistical and intelligence support, safe refuge, and munitions to jihadists that kill US troops in Iraq & Afghanistan, and launch terror attacks and suicide bombings there and elsewhere against civilians including women and children, as well as military.

Oh, and grab Western tourists and hold them hostage.

Oh, and that little US embassy kerfluffle back in Jimmy Carter's administration that he handled so deftly.

But really, that's all ancient history. Has no bearing whatsoever. Why wouldn't we trust any diplomatic agreements or treaties made with them? Never mind there are Iranian officials openly mocking the idea of Iran actually obeying any meaningful restrictions to their nuclear ambitions in the recent "agreement" touted in the news and mocking the West for our stupidity to believe they would honor any such agreements.

That at the very least will cause Saudi Arabia and any others that possibly can to acquire nukes, and if the 13-Imam nut-cases in leadership positions in Iran like Ahmadinejad attempt or actually do nuke Israel, the entire world will explode in conflict, as I'm sure Israel will launch at least one wave of nukes in retaliation before the Iranian nukes clear their launch-towers.

Strat

Re:Axis of evil, again (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 10 months ago | (#45630045)

For those who don't know, the 13-Imam nut-cases believe in sort of a second coming of Christ type event when the world is embroiled in conflict and chaos that will destroy all infidels and bring the world back in line with Islam to create a paradise on earth situation. The scary part we should note is that some of these people think if they help the world go into chaos, it will hasten the return or appearance sort of like forcing the second coming of Jesus.

An no, you do not have to believe in any God or religion to be concerned about this. If they are wrong but have their way, the results will be the same, war and conflicts all around.

Re:Axis of evil, again (0)

smugfunt (8972) | about 10 months ago | (#45630597)

The scary part we should note is that some of these people think if they help the world go into chaos, it will hasten the return or appearance sort of like forcing the second coming of Jesus.

Interestingly, they believe that Jesus himself will return to aid the 12th Imam (aka the Mahdi) at the Final Battle. So the Iranians are working towards exactly the same goal as the Americans. That's the scary part.

Re:Axis of evil, again (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 10 months ago | (#45631099)

I'm not sure I have ever seen Americans trying to force the second coming of Christ. Could you provide some examples? I do know there are some who think the chaos in the world is signs of the tribulations and will end with the second coming and they welcome that but none that I know of who take the position that they can make it happen.

You see, one would be ancillary to the other as in if it happens, I will be happy. The other seems to think they can make it happen and they will be happy. A big difference just like the difference between wishing someone was dead or harmed so you will be happy and then being happy when they drive drunk and wrap themselves around a telephone pole and you actually killing them or harming them so you will be happy.

But yes, it is a strange concept of Jesus coming to aid a Muslim if you take the Christian religion into account.

Re:Axis of evil, again (1)

jeti (105266) | about 10 months ago | (#45631283)

Is this a joke? This sounds exactly like what Borne Again Christians, including George W. Bush believe in.

Re:Axis of evil, again (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 10 months ago | (#45631351)

It is not exactly the same. The difference is between something like that happening and being able to make it happen or encourage it to happen. I don't know of any christian groups that think they can do anything to make it happen where the 13th Imam groups believe if there is enough chaos in the world, it will force it to happen and by creating the chaos they can aid in it.

Outside that, yes, it is very close.. But this shouldn't surprise anyone. Islam is more or less a contrived version of Judaism or the correct version depending on the beliefs of who you talk to. Christianity is more or less an extension to Judaism revolving around a new covenant that was prophesied by the Judaism portions of the bible (which is mainly why the old testament is included- Jesus was a Jew). So it shouldn't surprise many if the culmination of the three have similar but different concepts. Even if those differences and similarities are expounded by differing sects within each religion.

Re:Axis of evil, again (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 10 months ago | (#45630053)

The US could turn virtually every major urban area of Iran into radioactive craters, could wipe out most of its navy and air force in 48 hours and likely most of its anti aircraft capacity in pretty short order as well.

When I think of major threats I think of Japan in WWII or the USSR during the Cold War.

Re:Axis of evil, again (3, Informative)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 10 months ago | (#45630181)

The US could turn virtually every major urban area of Iran into radioactive craters, could wipe out most of its navy and air force in 48 hours and likely most of its anti aircraft capacity in pretty short order as well.

Which won't stop or deter them at all.

When I think of major threats I think of Japan in WWII or the USSR during the Cold War.

Which tells me you haven't learned enough history or enough about the people we're talking about that control Iran, and their history & beliefs.

We're talking religious zealot nut cases that think dying for their deity is glorious and expected.

They don't have to strike the US. Just Israel.

Israel will launch a retaliatory nuke strike. The Persian Gulf will likely become blocked/blockaded or simply too dangerous along with the Suez Canal. Then, the whole region falls into chaos and anarchy, followed by the major powers going to war for power, ideology, and resources while the world economy and the US Dollar/US economy collapses.

Strat

Re:Axis of evil, again (2)

sydneyfong (410107) | about 10 months ago | (#45631183)

We're talking religious zealot nut cases that think dying for their deity is glorious and expected.

ooohh... Sounds scary, until you realize it is basically the same thing as patriotic nutcases that think dying for their country is glorious and expected.

Re:Axis of evil, again (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 10 months ago | (#45631637)

We're talking religious zealot nut cases that think dying for their deity is glorious and expected.

ooohh... Sounds scary, until you realize it is basically the same thing as patriotic nutcases that think dying for their country is glorious and expected.

"Basically the same thing"?

Really?

So then, can you remember the last time a US soldier screamed "Praise Jesus!" before detonating a suicide vest among civilians including innocent women and children?

Yeah, me either.

You seem to have reached your fecal-matter capacity limits on that one.

Strat

Re:Axis of evil, again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45631675)

um, 'suicide vests' are for those who otherwise don't have the largest, over-armed military machine in the his story of the universe behind them...
otherwise, you just shoot a raghead with your gummint-issued killing machines, and 99.99% of the time, there is no effective oversight or followup...
the world is our free-fire zone, and you gurble on like the ugly amerikan you are that that is a 'good' thing...
i think i know which side you'll be on when the revolution comes...

Re:Axis of evil, again (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 10 months ago | (#45631731)

The poster is right. Iran is a threat, but not an existential threat. There's no possibility of them actually seriously destroying the US. Even if they did manage to make a nuclear bomb, they'd get smacked down so hard in that war the place would glow in the dark.

They can still pose a threat to US interests (the main US interest in that region being cheap, reliable oil). They could still kill a lot of people. They could still cause economic chaos. But when the dust settles, the US will be right there. Maybe a little bruise and minus a city, but still there.

Re:Axis of evil, again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45630369)

The US can't eliminate a bunch of ragtags running around Afghanistan after 12 years. Your acting like taking out the flag-waving Iranian military would be the end of the problems the US would face in Iran let alone what would happen on a broader level.
 
It hardly seems like you're thinking at all, to be honest.

Re:Axis of evil, again (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 10 months ago | (#45631501)

That all depends on what type of war they intend to fight in Iran. The one described is not the same that was fought in Afghanistan so your comparison is moot.

We have not fought a war of annihilation like WWII since then. Every war we have been involved with has always attempted to preserve resources for future use by factions within the waring country. That's a lot different then trying to conquer a nation. When you are willing to go Sherman on them and burn a trail to their capitol or bomb every single factory or annihilate entire cities, your efforts find a lot more victories then trying to distinguish between good and bad guys dressed similarly and in an area you are wanting to protect.

Even Germany who fought parts of the European war the same as we are fighting in Afghanistan, had troubles with resistance pockets except they didn't really care about killing innocents.

Re:Axis of evil, again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45630143)

Hmmmm makes you wonder what happened to them to make them hate you so much doesn't it?

Plus its not like America would ever do any of the things you listed.
Are you trying to take over cold fjord's job?
Anyone with sense knows the US is the archnemesis of the "free world" nowdays.

Re:Axis of evil, again (2)

Smauler (915644) | about 10 months ago | (#45630173)

I mean, besides supplying training, logistical and intelligence support, safe refuge, and munitions to jihadists that kill US troops in Iraq & Afghanistan, and launch terror attacks and suicide bombings there and elsewhere against civilians including women and children, as well as military.

Citation needed for _all_ these things, seriously.

Oh, and grab Western tourists and hold them hostage.

Oh, and that little US embassy kerfluffle back in Jimmy Carter's administration that he handled so deftly.

But really, that's all ancient history.

It is fucking ancient history, comparatively. These events are as close to world war 2 as they are to the present day, and precisely as relevant to both.

Now... for anyone who actually remembers them... does that make you feel old?

Re:Axis of evil, again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45630373)

Oh, and grab Western tourists and hold them hostage.

Oh, and that little US embassy kerfluffle back in Jimmy Carter's administration that he handled so deftly.

But really, that's all ancient history.

It is fucking ancient history, comparatively. These events are as close to world war 2 as they are to the present day, and precisely as relevant to both.

Yeah, except that that is the reason that the USA and Iran have had such shitty relations for all that time. Which is what the GP was saying...

Re:Axis of evil, again (1)

sphealey (2855) | about 10 months ago | (#45630513)

= = = Yeah, except that that is the reason that the USA and Iran have had such shitty relations for all that time. = = =

1953 coup and the subsequent torture chambers just flushed down the memory hole, eh?

Re:Axis of evil, again (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45630529)

Could be that the reason some Iranians dislike the US is because we along with Britan kind of overthrew their democratcially elected prime minister Mossadegh back in 1953 and imposed the Shah.

Re:Axis of evil, again (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45630339)

I think we lost our chance to show the world we mean business when we let North Korea slide. We should have nuked North Korea and completelly obliterated their pathetic little country. They not only developed a bomb but also sunk a South Korean navy ship and even shelled a South Korean island. I mean, for crying out loud, if this is not enough reason for us to nuke them, what do they have to do next?

There should be a simple red-line. If we detect a nuclear test, we will obliterate your country. That is what we should have done to North Korea. We should have nuked them. Now they have the upper hand because they can easily detonate a device in South Korea. If we had nuked North Korea, nobody else would ever dare trying to develop a nuclear weapon.

Re:Axis of evil, again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45630833)

You are an idiot. You can't just nuke people left and right. If more than a few nukes go off in a day the world is OVER. Nuclear Winter. Look it the fuck up retard.

Re:Axis of evil, again (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45630349)

Right, like what has Iran ever done to the US and the West, anyway?

I mean, besides supplying training, logistical and intelligence support, safe refuge, and munitions to jihadists

If that's true, how is it any worse than when the US supplied training, logistical and intelligence support, safe refuge, and muitions to jihadists? Or was that ok because then the media called jihadists freedom fighters, but now that the media calls them terrorists, despite their beliefs and acts remaining the same, it is not ok anymore? Or could it be there is a double standard? That'd explain how when Iran, a country that has not started a war for many years now (something that can't be said of their adversaries), says they will reduce their use of nuclear energy in six months that's a crime against humanity for which the only solution is murdering hundreds of thousands of their civilians, and when Israel assassinates dozens of Iranian scientists that's acceptable, because the worthless goyim can't be allowed to do science.

Re:Axis of evil, again (3, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | about 10 months ago | (#45630573)

I mean, besides supplying training, logistical and intelligence support, safe refuge, and munitions to jihadists

Remember Iran-Contra [wikipedia.org] ? Oh those evil Iranians, arming rebels and fomenting insurrection abroad.

But really, that's all ancient history.

Love picking at that scab, don't you? How were we getting along with Germany 32 years after our little kerfuffle with the Nazis? Did we stay this pissed off with them? Or is it a racial/religious thing?

That at the very least will cause Saudi Arabia and any others that possibly can to acquire nukes,

Muslim forces already have nukes. In fact, the same people who gave shelter to bin Laden. And I haven't heard a peep out of them. So perhaps the 'nutcase Imams' are a bit more level headed than you give them credit.

Re:Axis of evil, again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45631643)

Germany wasn't a kerfluffle. We brought them to their knees. Perhaps we should do the same to Iran.

Re:Axis of evil, again (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 10 months ago | (#45631735)

Maybe the imams are just doing what any other politician does: Ramping up the rhetoric to tell the people what they want to hear in public.

It's aways hard to tell with politicians what they actually believe, and how much is a lie to ensure their popular support. Imams may be religious leaders, but really that's just another type of politician.

Re:Axis of evil, again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45630651)

"Oh, and that little US embassy kerfluffle back in Jimmy Carter's administration that he handled so deftly."

You mean when Reagan and Casey made a secret illegal deal with the enemy relating to hostage release?

Re:Axis of evil, again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45631565)

Yeah, because that enmity of Iranians totally wasn't earned and the U.S. was completely innocent.</sarcasm> Seriously, When a country fucks with another countries internal politics by supporting causing 20+ years of oppresion with arms and money, then removes that support because for once the regime does something to improve the lot of their own people by voting to increase oil prices, wouldn't you expect some backlash. Not only individuals have the right to self-defense, nations and cultural groups have the right to defend themselves too.

Re:Axis of evil, again (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about 10 months ago | (#45629747)

An article to the rescue, about how the infinitely wise and well prepared TLA saved the day by outsmarting a dumb terrorist

Not much was saved that day ..... From TFA:

but the FBI's program didn't function properly, according to a court document submitted in February,

"The program hidden in the link sent to texan.slayer@yahoo.com never actually executed as designed," a federal agent reported in a handwritten note to the court.

Yahoo! Custom! Spyware! Embed! Service! (4, Insightful)

pepsikid (2226416) | about 10 months ago | (#45629405)

Unless this Iranian troll was naive enough to open one of those "e-cards" that required a little "browser helper", this strongly suggests that Yahoo complied with the government's request to push spyware onto a specific member's computer. They could do this through the ad mechanism, or perhaps the all-new Yahoo! Email! has an embedded Patriot! Patch! facility built-in?

Re:Yahoo! Custom! Spyware! Embed! Service! (1)

davidhoude (1868300) | about 10 months ago | (#45629509)

Patriot Patch, I'v never laughed so hard at a comment on the internet.

Re:Yahoo! Custom! Spyware! Embed! Service! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45629773)

Is that the one worn as an armband showing a silhouette of a fat TSA agent shoving a pizza slice into his mouth with one hand and a pistol in his other with one big booted foot resting on the head of an American victim laying face to the ground in the prone spreadeagled position?

Fan club (3, Informative)

gmuslera (3436) | about 10 months ago | (#45629415)

The FBI has been able to covertly activate a computer’s camera — without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording — for several years, and has used that technique mainly in terrorism cases or the most serious criminal investigations

... and in LoveINT [go.com] cases too. If noone watches the watchers they will become stalkers too.

Re:Fan club (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 10 months ago | (#45630545)

It would be interesting to know what remote admin tool they are using.

Re:Fan club (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45630669)

It would be interesting to know what remote admin tool they are using.

I'm sure it was one they learned about at DEFCON. Why re-invent the wheel...

The summary (1)

Saethan (2725367) | about 10 months ago | (#45629421)

Re: the summary

Maybe it's because of how I have my settings, but the summary shows up as one big giant block of text. How is this readable?

Re:The summary (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 10 months ago | (#45629861)

Hmm, that's odd. Seems fine to me. On second evaluation, it seems my ocular preprocessor automatically inserts paragraph breaks when encountering an ellipse...

"The Washington Post has an interesting story about how the FBI can investigate and collect details from computers over the net, without knowing anything about the computer location. Here's an example of the FBI's network investigative techniques: 'The man who called himself "Mo" had dark hair, a foreign accent and — if the pictures he e-mailed to federal investigators could be believed — an Iranian military uniform. When he made a series of threats to detonate bombs at universities and airports across a wide swath of the United States last year, police had to scramble every time. Mo remained elusive for months, communicating via e-mail, video chat and an Internet-based phone service without revealing his true identity or location, court documents show.

The FBI’s elite hacker team designed a piece of malicious software that was to be delivered secretly when Mo signed on to his Yahoo e-mail account, from any computer anywhere in the world, according to the documents. The goal of the software was to gather a range of information — Web sites he had visited and indicators of the location of the computer — that would allow investigators to find Mo and tie him to the bomb threats.

Even though investigators suspected that Mo was in Iran, the uncertainty around his identity and location complicated the case. Had he turned out to be a U.S. citizen or a foreigner living within the country, a search conducted without a warrant could have jeopardized his prosecution.

But, [a court document] said, Mo’s computer did send a request for information to the FBI computer, revealing two new IP addresses in the process. Both suggested that, as of last December, Mo was still in Tehran."

Say what you will about the build quality, gotta love the extra features they pack into cheap Chinese hardware. Now if I can just figure out how private pics of my GF keep ending up online...

Riiiight (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 10 months ago | (#45629433)

The FBI’s elite hacker team designed a piece of malicious software that was to be delivered secretly when Mo signed on to his Yahoo e-mail account, from any computer anywhere in the world, according to the documents.

This is a bit movie-like and shouldn't generally be technically possible. Is there some misreporting in the article, or what?

Re:Riiiight (3, Insightful)

imunfair (877689) | about 10 months ago | (#45629469)

Well, either they emailed him a trojan and are trying to make it sound fancy, or Yahoo was letting them run exploits on the mail site targeted at specific users. Probably the former, but the latter is technically possible and wouldn't surprise me considering all the companies that have bent over for the government surveillance machine so far.

Re:Riiiight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45629761)

Or they tried to force him to eat Yahoo's dogfood and use their email client. The screams of rage could be heard form orbit.

Re:Riiiight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45631531)

"Well, either they emailed him a trojan and are trying to make it sound fancy, or Yahoo was letting them run exploits on the mail site targeted at specific users"

Well, they won't catch me, because I didn't even know Yahoo still existed.

Re:Riiiight (1)

meerling (1487879) | about 10 months ago | (#45629607)

It's not outside what's believable for the nsa to say anything they think will make them sound better and more skilled than they actually are, including falsely reporting successful operations that never happened.

Re:Riiiight (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 10 months ago | (#45631745)

It's possible they had Yahoo's help: 'When this user logs in, sneak this malicious HTML onto the page.'

Then all you need is a browser exploit, and there are plenty of those around.

There is something wrong here (1)

purnima (243606) | about 10 months ago | (#45629441)

who would call himself Mo? I don't think an Iranian or any native Muslim would choose Mo.
It's an insult to the name Mohammad, and a common American shortening of that name.
I'd more happily expect that "Mo" to be a kid from Cleveland.

Re:There is something wrong here (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 10 months ago | (#45629513)

Why would that be surprising for a Muslim to not follow what you think he should do as a Muslim? Anyone born into any complex organised system of doctrine, is prone to follow the tenants less than 100% of the time.

Re:There is something wrong here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45629991)

What do the tenants have to do with it? Where do they live, a mosque?

Or did you perhaps mean 'tenets', which is a different word?

Re:There is something wrong here (2)

pepsikid (2226416) | about 10 months ago | (#45629547)

jesusandmo.net (just click "ok" when it prompts you to accept the browser helper to improve your experience)

Re:There is something wrong here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45630283)

Mo or Moe is a commonly used nickname for Mohammad. Some of my Arab students use this all of the time and no, none of them are terrorists.

Re:There is something wrong here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45630391)

I think his point is that a fundamentalist would find "Mo" to be disrespectful.

Another Ministry of Propaganda piece. (1, Interesting)

HansKloss (665474) | about 10 months ago | (#45629477)

WTF is point of this article?
So many details, stories about asking for court order when it was reported that agency ignored 1000 times similar requests in the past.

Iran is bad so drums get louder and louder again. So pathetic.

Re:Another Ministry of Propaganda piece. (1)

Synonymous Homonym (1901660) | about 10 months ago | (#45631195)

The point of the article is that if you are not American, you have no rights. Even if you did nothing illegal in your own country, the FBI will still get you. If you are American, don't leave the motherland if you know what's good for you.

The other point is that having to get a warrant hampers police investigations, so let police do whatever they want to whoever they want whereever they want already.

The Next Level (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | about 10 months ago | (#45629487)

The next level of "Spyware" has arrived. Enjoy.

why run the spyware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45629531)

If Mo was dumb enough to run the spyware, well... moral issues aside, the inevitable will happen.

Seriously, why are people surprised when they run code from an attacker, and then they are attacked? This central idea seems to elude people: do not run software where you don't know what it is and have no reason to trust it. Yes, in this case it was hunting someone with possibly ill intent, but in the next 100000 cases it'll be Joe Sixpack getting his bank account jacked.

It's bewildering. If you cooperate with attackers, you get attacked. News at 11.

So the FBI exploited Yehoo email? (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 10 months ago | (#45629539)

Or did Yahoo allow the FBI to compromise their system and allow the FBI to access the mailbox, read though the emails and get an idea on who to send the trojan from so the would open the email.

Well either way Yahoo has compromised mail servers or they allow the FBI to do as they wish with the Yahoo system.

Re:So the FBI exploited Yehoo email? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45629725)

Only terrorists use Yahoo.

Re:So the FBI exploited Yehoo email? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 10 months ago | (#45630519)

Or maybe they just got a warrant from a judge.

In fact if you were to read TFA it says:

"A federal magistrate in Denver approved sending surveillance software to Moâ(TM)s computer last year."

We need a new kind of razor for this....

Never attribute to extra-legal snooping by government agencies that which can be done with a simple legal warrant.

Re:So the FBI exploited Yehoo email? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45630679)

Or they used the sandwich man attack, though I doubt it if NSA gave them such toys to FBI.

nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45629643)

BS

#Do Not Edit: Script automatically generated. (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 10 months ago | (#45629887)


#!/bin/bash
echo "127.0.0.1 mail.yahoo.com" >> /etc/hosts

watering hole much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45629937)

watering hole much?

Warrant? No. (1)

lasermike026 (528051) | about 10 months ago | (#45629939)

Warrant? No. Fire them yesterday.

"Even though investigators suspected that Mo was in Iran, the uncertainty around his identity and location complicated the case. Had he turned out to be a U.S. citizen or a foreigner living within the country, a search conducted without a warrant could have jeopardized his prosecution."

Re:Warrant? No. (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 10 months ago | (#45630133)

You don't need a warrant for people in other countries. US law only covers US persons and foreign persons on US soil/territory. FISA is generally what covers foreigners and to that extent, only when US persons are involved needs a warrant.

Re:Warrant? No. (2)

Synonymous Homonym (1901660) | about 10 months ago | (#45630903)

If America was a civilized country, they would colaborate with foreign police in foreign countries, the way police in civilized countries does, rather than ignore the laws of other countries and treat them like lawless territories.

Re:Warrant? No. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 10 months ago | (#45631053)

They do to some extent. However, which exact country should the government work with when they do not know the exact location or country of the foreign person under investigation?

As for spying on foreigners, most of the spying is done on countries that are enemies, potential enemies and those in positions to aid them. While it is true that some spying happens on allied countries, is it better to find out you are being betrayed by an ally before or after they betray you? Working with those countries would sort of defeat the purpose of spying on them wouldn't it?

There are some things that a Utopian world simply cannot support. We don't live in a utopian world and allies do betray enemies and enemies do attack allies. Criminals who operate with impunity in other countries and commit crimes against your country exist in real life. Do you think Iran would have found this person and handed them over to the US or any other country? We went to war in Afghanistan because they gave Al Qeada safe harbor after 9/11 and refused to allow the US to go after them or pursue them on our behalf. If this was the utopian world you suggest with everyone working together and following the laws of all other nations, war wouldn't have been a necessity, neither would 9/11 either but sadly, we do not have a world like that so we do what works or appears will work to the best of our abilities.

You may call that uncivilized, it might be, in reality too. But the alternative currently in available is far worse from many perspectives. It is simply the reality we live in. The large difference is that doing it to other countries and their people means we have no power over them so it cannot be immediately abused without a potential for a greater conflict. That's a big difference from doing it to your own people.

Re:Warrant? No. (1)

Synonymous Homonym (1901660) | about 10 months ago | (#45631377)

The FBI is a police organisation, not a spy organisation (though catching spies is also part of their duties). So everything you said about spying is not relevant in this context.

You have a point in that they first needed to find out what country the person of interest was in. When they found out it was Iran, it should have become the responsibility of Iranian police.

Whether Iran would have to hand over one of their citizens for crimes comitted in the USA depends on whether Iran and the USA have a mutual extradition agreement.
It is possible (IANAL) that the FBI violated Iranian laws by installing spyware on someone elses computer in Iran. (They didn't have a warrant from an Iranian judge.) Would the USA be willing to deliver those responsible, or would they rather harbour criminals within their borders and make war "a necessity"?

Re:Warrant? No. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 10 months ago | (#45631473)

The FBI is a police organisation, not a spy organisation (though catching spies is also part of their duties). So everything you said about spying is not relevant in this context.

You are right. I took the context of how they solved the issue to be part of the bigger picture of government spying though.

You have a point in that they first needed to find out what country the person of interest was in. When they found out it was Iran, it should have become the responsibility of Iranian police.

According to the article, all they have done so far is generally locate the person by installing the software. It is yet to be seen if anything else, including cooperation with Iranian authorities, would happen. So I guess arguing that would be pointless on my part.

It is possible (IANAL) that the FBI violated Iranian laws by installing spyware on someone elses computer in Iran. (They didn't have a warrant from an Iranian judge.) Would the USA be willing to deliver those responsible, or would they rather harbour criminals within their borders and make war "a necessity"?

I doubt the US would ever hand someone over for doing something under color of law or as an official state action. Wars will be fought if it happens just like those European courts who indicted Bush and Cheney knew that it was all symbolic and the governments would never arrest them when they showed up for state visits because the US would respond militarily if they did. As a matter of fact, even if the current president didn't respond that way, I'm pretty sure one will be elected on the promise to do so.

As for calling the FBI criminals, I don't think that could technically be possible unless Yahoo has a server located somewhere in Iran and he logged into that server. But it would be just as ridiculous to imagine a law banning the installation of spyware being carried into extraterritorial matters of law as Iran simply does not have that stretch of influence. I know it sounds like a matter of double standard and it is, but the influence you have determines a lot about what local laws can be enforced outside your country. And to that matter, even the US laws being enforced in other countries are largely parts of treaties like copyright and trade treaties with the exception that I know of with the computer tresspass law enforce on that kid in England. There they took the concept of the person logging into US government computers as if he traveled to the US which would be the concept carried about logging into a yahoo server outside of Iran.

So I don't think they could be called criminals and if war is a necessity, it will be because of crazy leaders in Iran more then anything else. Installing software that exposes the location of a computer used in violation of a country's laws should not be an act of war under any sane interpretation of any country's sovereignty.

Iranian! (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 10 months ago | (#45629941)

Always good for some good old FEAR! UNCERTAINTY! DOUBT!

Why is every team elite? (1)

sandbagger (654585) | about 10 months ago | (#45630059)

All of 'em? Really?

Re:Why is every team elite? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45630835)

Second-time submitter krakman writes:

The Washington Times has an altogether boring story about the unsuccessful efforts of the U.S. Army's Geological Survey Unit to track Osama bin Laden's movements in Afghanistan. The Army's mediocre geologist team flew from site to site in a borrowed can Chinook to see if the rocks there looked like the ones in the background of bin Laden's propaganda videos. An overpriced team of EDS contractors would then sit on their data for one or two months before forwarding it to $2-a-day clerks in a third-world country who would input the data as best they could with their limited English skills into a web-based data entry system that connected to a somewhat normalized MS Access database running on a Windows ME server. The data was then processed by buggy SQL queries written by a fresh college graduate who had never worked in SQL before, based on a half-written specification provided by the Army, and then manually edited until it looked kind of like the type of data the contractors thought the Army would have wanted. In their final analysis, the Army survey unit placed bin Laden on the wrong side of the continent of Asia from where he was eventually found.

Re:Why is every team elite? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45631077)

If you tell people that they're elite and let them come into the office whenever they feel like it, you can pay them much less. Of course, the results aren't likely to be "elite" but this is the government so they're not concerned with the results.

So a massive waste of money then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45630301)

So they basically wasted all this time and money to confirm something they already suspected; that he was in a country that they couldn't touch.
Wonder how many hundreds of hours of overtime were claimed in pursuit of this valuable slice of information.

spin-doctoring (1)

cas2000 (148703) | about 10 months ago | (#45630479)

expect to see a lot more of these "See, privacy invasion is good for you" articles. Their purpose is to "prove" that all this spying and data collection helps catch some very naughty people in icky foreign countries. some of them with really bad accents or even terrible mustaches (aka "proof of evil").

Lets think about this (1)

PPH (736903) | about 10 months ago | (#45630493)

Terrorist want to cause widespread fear and panic in the US population. So why the Iranian military uniform? I'd be wearing an NFL fan sweatshirt (different cities team for every broadcast) and use a nondescript Starbucks as a background. So the assumption is that he's in country already and Homeland Security goes to code red.

The Iranian uniform and Iranian IP indicates that he's still at home and just stirring the pot. But both the uniform and the IP are easy to spoof. And an Iranian officer would be risking career (and maybe literal) suicide by screwing up ongoing international nuclear negotiations. So I'd consider this as a false flag operation, aimed at making Iranians appear to be unstable. I'd be looking inside Israel for the source.

Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45631387)

The FBI’s elite hacker team designed a piece of malicious software that was to be delivered secretly when Mo signed on to his Yahoo e-mail account, from any computer anywhere in the world, according to the documents. The goal of the software was to gather a range of information — Web sites he had visited and indicators of the location of the computer

If he had half-decent technical skills, the FBI would now be looking for him in half the countries in the world. If he were careful about it, he could even keep it plausible - spend a week in one place, spoof an airport, go silent, spoof a different airport...

Remote FBI computer investigations? (1)

codeusirae (3036835) | about 10 months ago | (#45631453)

"The Washington Post has an interesting story about how the FBI can investigate and collect details from computers over the net, without knowing anything about the computer location"

Don't you mean the Post has an interesting story about how easy it is to remotely hack a Windows computer over the Internet, in this case by opening a contaminated email attachment.
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