The FBI needs its own hacking team

on July 28 | in cyber, Homeland Security

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has apparently purchased software from Hacking Team, the Italy-based IT firm known for selling surveillance and hacking tools to repressive regimes, according to this Wired article from a few weeks ago. Readers should check out the article and also watch the Hacking Team commercial below.

The article and commercial reinforce the argument I made last week; the FBI, rather than asking tech companies to engineer their systems in ways that could provide the Bureau with access to encrypted data, should develop the tools necessary to exploit vulnerabilities in software and hardware. That approach would use weaknesses that already exist in computing systems — instead of introducing new weaknesses — and therefore wouldn’t place Internet users in greater jeopardy.

I’m not sure about the wisdom of using software from Hacking Team, which has such a dismal reputation. But the FBI should certainly be pursuing more capabilities like those provided by this company. That would offer the best solution to its “going dark” problem. The Hacking Team commercial makes this exact point, pitching its software as a solution to law enforcement’s growing challenges from end-to-end encrypted communications systems.

photo: hacksaws. (Wikicommons)

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