The FBI can secretly activate a computer’s webcam to spy on an individual without turning on the indicator light, a former official revealed. I’m going to say this, this is nothing new to me…..I figured they’ve been doing this for years.
Published in the Washington Post, the story covers the search for a man known as ‘Mo’ who is alleged to have made several bomb threats to authorities.
In the article, Marcus Thomas, who used to work at the FBI’s Operational Technology Division, admits that FBI software can covertly enable a laptop’s webcam without triggering a warning light. This kind of secret surveillance is only used in terrorism cases or the “most serious” criminal investigations said Thomas.
Among the other software utilized by the FBI is a diagnostics program that can produce a detailed breakdown of a user’s computer configuration and installed applications. Another tool can be transmitted over the Web as soon as someone signs into a particular email address that has been identified for investigation. Emails, documents and photos can all be downloaded covertly. In each case, the FBI must apply to a federal magistrate for permission to monitor a particular individual.
The Post’s lengthy profile of a surveillance operation against a suspected terrorist cited a warrant in legal case files, which authorized an “Internet web link” that would download the surveillance software to the suspect’s computer when he signed on to his Yahoo account. The software would allow the subject’s video camera to be turned on remotely without revealing the activation. Similar, earlier requests have been denied to the FBI as overly intrusive.