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. Links 30/8/2016: Fedora 24 Reviewed, Ubuntu Patched

    Links for the day



  2. Links 29/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC4, Maru OS Source Code

    Links for the day



  3. Let Them Eat Patents

    A reality check regarding software patents and regarding those who truly benefit from an expensive patent system with an even more expensive litigation process/proceedings



  4. Nothing Whatsoever Has Improved at the European Patent Office, It's Just Summer's Recess (and Silence)

    The European Patent Office (EPO) has done absolutely nothing to improve the work atmosphere, it just alters the marketing strategy somewhat



  5. Links 28/8/2016: Q4OS 1.6, ConnochaetOS 14.2

    Links for the day



  6. The United States Has Gotten Over Software Patents

    A roundup of new articles about software patents in the United States, 2 years into the post-Alice era (the US Supreme Court deeming patents on software too abstract to have merit)



  7. More Lies From President Benoît Battistelli and the EPO Crisis Which Continues to Deepen

    The European Patent Office (EPO), collectively speaking, is still wrestling with a Battistelli infiltration (a circle of high-level managers) which habitually lies and viciously attacks those who dare counter these lies



  8. Links 27/8/2016: Torvalds and GPL, “DOD Must Embrace Open-Source Software”

    Links for the day



  9. Links 26/8/2016: Maru OS Resurfaces, Android More Reliable Than 'i' Things, PC-BSD Becomes TrueOS

    Links for the day



  10. Good Job, David Kappos, Says the 'Boss' (IBM)

    Responses to the latest call against Alice (eliminator of many software patents), courtesy of the man from IBM (still paid by IBM) who was responsible for the policy that blindly approved a lot of software patents in the US



  11. Being for Patent Quality or Against Patenting Excess Does Not Make You Anti-Patents

    Like IAM, which tries to portray sceptics and critics of software patents as "anti-patents", IP Watchdog (or Watchtroll as we call it) is 'trolling' the Electronic Frontier Foundation, simply because it expressed an opinion that patent maximalists cannot tolerate



  12. Erosion of Patent Quality Enables Patent Extortion With Large Portfolios of Low Validity Rate

    Revisiting the EPO's vision of poor patent examination and the effect of discriminatory granting practices, favouring patent bullies such as Microsoft (which actively attacks Linux using low-quality and usually pure software patents)



  13. The EPO's Francesco Zaccà Presenting in Turin Alongside Patent Trolls (Like the Patent Mafia Sisvel) and Lobbyists/Front Groups for Software Patents, UPC

    Benjamin Henrion (FFII) on seeing the EPO alongside patent trolls and other nefarious actors, doing what they do best, which is undermining public interests and harming patent quality



  14. The EPO, USPTO, and Patent Microcosm Peddle Myths About Patents in Public Universities and Research

    Tackling some of the commonly-spread myths about patents as "saving lives" and "promoting research" (in practice leading to the death of poor people and promoting trolls)



  15. Large Corporations' Lobbyist David Kappos Disgraces Former Employer USPTO by Meddling in Their Affairs on Software Patents, Downplaying the Supreme Court

    The latest lobbying from David Kappos, who blatantly exploits his connections in patent circles to promote software patents and work towards their resurgence after Alice v CLS Bank



  16. Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice Calls the European Patent Office “Rotten”, Other Sources Scrutinise Recent Moves

    The patent office which was once known for being the best bar none is rotting under the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, who made himself and his friends the main clients of the Office



  17. PTAB Emerges as Hero of USPTO Because Quality of Patents Improves, Software Patents Are Effectively Dead (or Dying Once Reassessed)

    With help from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) -- not just patent courts -- software patents drop like flies by the thousands



  18. Creative Technology, Now Operating in 'Patent Troll' Mode, Shot Down by the ITC; Jawbone Too Shot Down

    Some good news from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which may have put an end to Creative's new war on Android (using old patents)



  19. Corporate Media in India Misrepresents Startups to Push for Software Patents

    A parade of misinformation as seen in Indian (but English-speaking) press this week as questions about patentability of software resurface



  20. Links 25/8/2016: Linux Turns 25, NetworkManager Turns 1.4

    Links for the day



  21. Links 24/8/2016: More From LinuxCon, Uganda Wants FOSS

    Links for the day



  22. Links 23/8/2016: GNOME 3.22 Beta, Android 7.0 Nougat

    Links for the day



  23. The Linux Foundation Gives Microsoft (Paid-for) Keynote Position While Microsoft Extorts (With Patents) Lenovo and Motorola Over Linux Use

    This morning's reminder that Nadella is just another Ballmer (with a different face); Motorola and Lenovo surrender to Microsoft's patent demands and will soon put Microsoft spyware/malware on their Linux-powered products to avert costly legal battles



  24. Not Just President Battistelli: EPO Vice-Presidents Are Still Intentionally Misrepresenting EPO Staff

    Evidence serving to show that EPO Vice-Presidents are still intentionally misrepresenting EPO staff representatives and misleading everyone in order to defend Battistelli



  25. Battistelli the Liar Causes a Climate of Confrontation in French Politics, Lies About Patent Quality (Among Many Other Things)

    Battistelli's lies are coming under increased scrutiny inside and outside the European Patent Office (EPO), where patent quality has been abandoned in order to artificially elevate figures



  26. The Collapse of Software Patents and Patent Law Firms Trying to “Overcome” Alice

    The United States continues its gradual crackdown on software patents (which are viewed as abstract and thus unpatentable), whereas in Europe things are murkier than ever



  27. Apple's Patent Wars Against Android/Linux Make Patent Trolls Stronger

    Apple's insistence that designs should be patentable could prove to be collectively expensive, as patent trolls would then use a possible SCOTUS nod to launch litigation campaigns



  28. Links 22/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC3, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” KDE Beta

    Links for the day



  29. Links 21/8/2016: Apple and Microsoft Down, Systemd Spreading to Mount

    Links for the day



  30. Links 20/8/2016: Android Domination, FSFE summit 2016

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts