EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

04.21.09

FBI, CIPAV, and the Windows Back Doors Revisited

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 6:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Looking through the tube

Summary: How (and why) the American secret services rely on Windows

THE back doors in Microsoft Windows are a serious issue that we've already covered, so there is no point doing it again. Adding to what we already know, there is now this report from Wired Magazine and another from IDG:

CIPAV spyware helped nab unemployed engineer angry over outsourcing

There is also a discussion at Slashdot and one reader of ours wrote: “A good question to ask is, what is it about Windows that allows CIPAV to be so easily activated? Does it even require visiting a contaminated Web site (see the Slashdot article)? What is it in Windows that allows such features?” Here is some relevant information which this reader sent to us:

CIPAV, which stands for “Computer and Internet Protocol Address Verifier,” is secret surveillance software that the FBI used last month to help identify whoever was e-mailing bomb threats almost daily to a Washington high school.

[...]

The only clue in the affidavit is that the CIPAV would operate as a pen register for up to 60 days after the software had been “activated” by the recipient. In other words, the FBI swore that the monitor would “time out” after 60 days. But not that it would delete itself or not be able to spread in some worm or bot fashion.

This post neither defense nor criticism of malicious and dangerous behaviour that the FBI is rightly intercepting. It is merely recognition of the operation of Microsoft Windows.

It is not news that the FBI uses Windows viruses (there were several articles about it last year) and the DHS, which recently recruited Microsoft after pressure from the BSA, is now recruiting hackers.
________
[1] FBI remotely installs spyware to trace bomb threat

While there’s been plenty of speculation about how the FBI might deliver spyware electronically, this case appears to be the first to reveal how the technique is used in practice. The FBI did confirm in 2001 that it was working on a virus called Magic Lantern but hasn’t said much about it since.    

[2] FBI ducks questions about its remotely installed spyware

There are plenty of unanswered questions about the FBI spyware that, as we reported earlier this week, can be delivered over the Internet and implanted in a suspect’s computer remotely.

[3] FBI to Notify Microsoft Windows Users Who Were Victims of Botnets

The Department of Justice and FBI have announced the results of an ongoing cyber crime initiative to disrupt and dismantle “botherders” and elevate the public’s cyber security awareness of botnets.

[4] FBI: Operation Bot Roast finds over 1 million botnet victims

The Department of Justice and FBI Wednesday said ongoing investigations have identified more than 1 million botnet crime victims.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

4 Comments

  1. The Mad Hatter said,

    April 21, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Gravatar

    Based on what I’ve read, you are regarded as a probable threat if you run an OS or Web Browser that CIPAV cannot infect. The reasoning seems to be that if you have made the choice to run Linux/OSX or use Firefox/Opera on Windows instead of Internet Exploder, you must have something to hide.

    No, I don’t have details or a link, I remember reading this a while back somewhere, and now can’t remember where.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 21, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Gravatar

    There’s this recent incident.

  3. Yggdrasil said,

    April 21, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Gravatar

    You are misleading people, again. You should have cited this from the Computer World article:

    “Some user action was CLEARLY REQUIRED to infect the PC with the CIPAV. In the warrant application, the FBI used the term activate several times and alluded to a spyware plant failure if the target did not trigger the CIPAV through the targeted MySpace account. MySpace accounts can’t receive traditional e-mail, so one hacker standard — attach the CIPAV to a message and hope the recipient is stupid enough to launch it — wasn’t available”

    Exactly. If you want to infect a Linux users, it’s as simple as sending them some program and getting them to run it. You also mention Slashdot, but of course, you only mention comments that would be critical of Microsoft. How about these comments instead? Both of which received high rankings.

    “What makes you think they don’t have a variant for Linux? User stupidity (i.e: bad/no security) isn’t unique to Windows. Off the top of my head, if they are relying on the web as an infection vector combined with user stupidity, why not write it into a Firefox extension?

    Yeah, it wouldn’t get your typical /. geek, but most criminals aren’t known for their foresight or intelligence. “Oh, the private website with the bank account information needs me to install this software! Ok, what could possibly go wrong?”

    In response to that:

    “This is an excellent statement. Stupidity knows no bounds. Its also dangerous to assume that the FBI doesn’t know what it is doing. When I worked in law enforcement, the FBI computer crimes agents I knew were well versed in operating systems other than Windows. The two I worked with most often had a solid knowledge of Linux and Cisco IOS.”

  4. Brian Assaf said,

    April 23, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Gravatar

    “If you want to infect a Linux users, it’s as simple as sending them some program and getting them to run it.”

    Um. That easy huh? By default files aren’t executable, so it would require changing the permission. It would also need to be run as root to infect the whole system. How about dependencies? How about architecture differences. Just x86 or 64-bits? MIPS? Arm?
    So on and so forth. Linux isn’t a monoculture (no pun intended here guys/gals!) like the Windows ecosystem is.

    Even a pre-packaged deb (which can be installed ala double click in Ubuntu) would ask for a password, and again, wouldn’t be viable for every Linux distribution out there, architecture not withstanding.

    Having to run something out of the blue is odd if you use a package management system. Cryptographically signed, easily installed/uninstalled and updated (and source available for those interested.)

    Although maybe I’m alone in the 24,000+ packages available in Ubuntu being enough for regular computer use.

    My point here is I’ve unlearned a habit, there is no need to grab software willy nilly off the net. Instead check the repos, and check the source of software. Do you trust it, etc and why should I install this. Plus does it behave like a rootkit, if so then it can be scanned for, if this really does become some sort of popular vector…

    So, yes, you could use social engineering to get someone to install something, but the process should set off a red flag in the user.
    There isn’t some autorun or double click deal here. For those users that understand binaries are a blackbox, where no one can inspect, change, etc. anything, install at your own risk.

What Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, March 29, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, March 29, 2020



  2. Links 30/3/2020: Linux 5.6, Nitrux 1.2.7, Sparky 2020.03.1

    Links for the day



  3. The Fall of the UPC - Part IX: Campinos Opens His Mouth One Week Later (and It's That Hilarious Delusion Again)

    Team Campinos said nothing whatsoever about the decision of the FCC until one week later, whereupon Campinos leveraged some words from Christine Lambrecht to mislead everybody in the EPO's official "news" section



  4. Pretending EPO Corruption Stopped Under António Campinos When It is in Fact a Lot Worse in Several Respects/Aspects (Than It Was Under Benoît Battistelli)

    Germany's eagerness to keep Europe's central patent office in Munich (and to a lesser degree in Berlin) means that politicians in the capital and in Bavaria turn a blind eye to abuses, corruption and even serious crimes; this won't help Germany's image in the long run



  5. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, March 28, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, March 28, 2020



  6. Links 28/3/2020: Wine 5.5 Released, EasyPup 2.2.14, WordPress 5.4 RC5 and End of Truthdig

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Friday, March 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, March 27, 2020



  8. The Fall of the UPC - Part VIII: Team UPC Celebrates Death, Not Life

    Team UPC plays psychological games now; it is trying to twist or spin its defeat as good news and something to be almost celebrated; it is really as illogical (and pathetic) as that sounds



  9. Links 27/3/2020: GNU/Linux Versus COVID-19 and Release of GNU Guile 3.0.2

    Links for the day



  10. When Your 'Business' is Just 'Patent Portfolio'

    Hoarding loads of patents may seem impressive, but eating them to survive is impossible if not impermissible



  11. LOT Network is a One-Man (Millionaire's) Operation and Why This Should Alarm You

    The ugly story of Open Invention Network (OIN) and LOT; today we take a closer look at LOT and highlight a pattern of 'cross-pollination' (people in both OIN and LOT, even at the same time)



  12. Faking Production With Fake Patents on Software

    The EPO with its illegal guidelines (in violation of the EPC) can carry on churning out millions of fake patents that European courts would only waste time on and small companies be blackmailed with (they cannot afford legal battles)



  13. With the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Out of the Way Focus Will Return to EPO Corruption

    Expect the European Patent Office (EPO) to receive more negative attention now that the ’cause’ of UPC is lost and there’s no point pretending things are rosy



  14. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, March 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, March 26, 2020



  15. Links 27/3/2020: qBittorrent 4.2.2, Krita 4.2.9, pfSense 2.4, Bodhi Linux 5

    Links for the day



  16. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, March 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, March 25, 2020



  17. Still Work in Progress: Getting Those 2,851 Pages of Police Report About Arrest for Pedophilia in Home of Bill Gates

    It’s extremely difficult to get those police records, which were requested exactly one day before the media started attacking Richard Stallman (associating him with pedophiles based on a deliberate distortion)



  18. Links 26/3/2020: Plasma Bigscreen, New Kubernetes, Fedora's New Identity and Bodhi Linux 5.1.0

    Links for the day



  19. Guest Article: Window Managers, Github and Software Disobedience

    "Walking away from monopolies is the essence of freedom"



  20. Links 25/3/2020: LLVM 10.0.0 and UCS 4.4-4 Released, WordPress 5.4 RC4

    Links for the day



  21. 'Team UPC' Last Week

    The looks on Team UPC's faces 5 days ago (before and after the 9:30AM announcement)



  22. The Fall of the UPC - Part VII: Lies and Revisionism About the Reasons for the UPC's Ultimate Demise (to Leave the Door Open for More Failed Attempts)

    The media was lying in a hurry, in a coordinated effort to distort the meaning of the FCC's decision or belittle the impact of this decision; Techrights will carefully watch and respond to these lies



  23. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, March 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, March 24, 2020



  24. Linux Foundation Became Anti-Linux, Run by Microsoft People to Serve Microsoft's Agenda

    Microsoft is taking over the bodies of healthy projects, infecting the hosts in order for them to become slaves of the proprietary parasite; there's still no (known) cure, but we're familiar with the symptoms



  25. Microsoft Continues to Attack and Steal From the Open Source/Free Software Communities

    Microsoft cannot be trusted and there's no "new Microsoft," as another fairly new story serves to show



  26. Targeted Attack Leveraging FSF Servers

    Targeted by a determined and persist perpetrator, I've received over 20,000 E-mails. And the weapon of choice was the FSF's infrastructure, remotely misused against yours truly.



  27. If We Weren't Silencing Founders, Critics and People We Just Don't Like

    "In the long run, history is rarely very kind to tyrants, especially the ones who did little more than lie to people and demand things that served no real purpose."



  28. The Fall of the UPC - Part VI: Drowning in Material

    We're starting to see few good reports on the subject of UPC being rejected by the constitutional court of Germany; we also have a rapidly-growing 'buffer' of rather blatant examples of disinformation (which we'll tackle as best we can)



  29. FFII: EU Software Patent Court Stopped by Constitutional Court, Patent Industry Will Try Again

    The third attempt to validate software patents in Europe via a central patent court (UPC) has been stopped by the German Constitutional Court. The Unified Patent Court (UPC) would have given the keys of the kingdoms to the patent industry, and the last word over software patentability. FFII predict that the patent industry will continue to push for an UPC v2.0.



  30. Links 24/3/2020: Alpine 3.11.5, MythTV 31.0 and Tails 4.4.1

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts