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Fw: FBI taps cell phone mic as eavesdropping tool

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  • Sterling D. Allan
    a.. (OT) FBI taps cell phone mic as eavesdropping tool - The FBI has begun using a novel form of electronic surveillance in some criminal investigations:
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 4, 2006
       
       
      • (OT) FBI taps cell phone mic as eavesdropping tool - The FBI has begun using a novel form of electronic surveillance in some criminal investigations: remotely activating a mobile phone's microphone and using it to eavesdrop on nearby conversations.  he "roving bug" technique was approved by top U.S. Department of Justice officials. (CNET; Dec. 1) (See Slashdot discussion)
       
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Monday, December 04, 2006 8:48 AM
      Subject: FBI taps cell phone mic as eavesdropping tool

      FBI taps cell phone mic as eavesdropping tool
      December 1, 2006
      The FBI appears to have begun using a novel form of electronic surveillance in criminal investigations: remotely activating a mobile phone's microphone and using it to eavesdrop on nearby conversations.
      The technique is called a "roving bug," and was approved by top U.S. Department of Justice officials for use against members of a New York organized crime family who were wary of conventional surveillance techniques such as tailing a suspect or wiretapping him.

      Nextel and Samsung handsets and the Motorola Razr are especially vulnerable to software downloads that activate their microphones, said James Atkinson, a counter-surveillance consultant who has worked closely with government agencies. "They can be remotely accessed and made to transmit room audio all the time," he said. "You can do that without having physical access to the phone."
      Because modern handsets are miniature computers, downloaded software could modify the usual interface that always displays when a call is in progress. The spyware could then place a call to the FBI and activate the microphone--all without the owner knowing it happened. (The FBI declined to comment on Friday.)
      "If a phone has in fact been modified to act as a bug, the only way to counteract that is to either have a bugsweeper follow you around 24-7, which is not practical, or to peel the battery off the phone," Atkinson said.
      Security-conscious corporate executives routinely remove the batteries from their cell phones, he added.
      When FBI agents remotely activated the system and were listening in, passengers in the vehicle could not tell that their conversations were being monitored.
      http://news.com.com/FBI+taps+cell+phone+mic+as+eavesdropping+tool/2100-1029_3-6140191.html?tag=st.txt.caro


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