By Kevin Poulsen
April 17, 2009
Buried in the 150 pages of CIPAV spyware-related documents released by
the FBI Thursday is a tantalizing nugget that indicates the bureau's
technology experts have more than one way to hack a suspect.
In early 2007, FBI agents with one of the bureau's International
Terrorism Operations Sections sought hacking help from the FBI's geek
squads. The agents were working a case in Pittsburgh, which is not
described in the documents, and wanted to know "if [a] remote computer
attack can be conducted against [the] target."
The FBI's Cryptographic and Electronic Analysis Unit, CEAU, responded
with two options. One of them was redacted from the released document as
a sensitive investigative technique. The other is described this way:
"CEAU advised Pittsburgh that they could assist with a wireless hack to
obtain a file tree, but not the hard drive content."
Wi-fi hacking has featured prominently in some big cybercrimes,
including the attack on TJ Maxx that exposed at least 45 million
customer credit card numbers and other data. In that case, Albert
"Segvec" Gonzalez and associates allegedly cracked the retailer's WEP
key and used it to gain entry to the corporate network, where he planted
packet sniffers to scoop up the data.
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