Alleged Russian agents used high-tech tricks

Alleged Russian agents used high-tech tricks
Alleged Russian agents used high-tech tricks 

By Declan McCullagh
Politics and Law
CNet News
June 28, 2010

A clandestine network of Russian spies in the United States used private 
Wi-Fi networks, flash memory sticks, and text messages concealed in 
graphical images to exchange information, federal prosecutors said 

The Justice Department has filed criminal charges against 11 people who 
allegedly were covert agents of the Russian government assigned to 
establish close ties with American policymakers, including White House 
officials and an unnamed political fundraiser.

The court papers made public on Monday (PDF and PDF) include details of 
21st century spycraft more high-tech than anything Jason Bourne knew 
about: defendant Anna Chapman allegedly brought her laptop to a coffee 
shop on 47th Street in Manhattan in January and transferred data with a 
Russian government official who drove by in a minivan but never entered 
the store.

In another information exchange two months later, Chapman allegedly 
opened her laptop while in a bookstore in lower Manhattan--probably the 
Barnes and Noble store on Greenwich Street--and used a private Wi-Fi 
network to communicate with the same Russian official who was nearby.

Some members of what the FBI calls "the Illegals," meaning agents who 
adopted cover stories and lived in the United States for decades, 
allegedly used custom steganographic software developed in Moscow. 
(Steganography is the practice of concealing secret messages in 
otherwise innocuous files.)


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