back to article TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab

The FBI wants greater authority to hack overseas computers, according to a law professor. A Department of Justice proposal to amend Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure would make it easier for domestic law enforcement to hack into the computers of people attempting to protect their anonymity on the internet. …

  1. Roo

    Opening the stable door so the horse can bolt...

    "there's evidence that the FBI is already involved in overseas cyber-ops of one form or another"

    So they are making it all legal so no one has to be investigated and the horse can frolic happily in the ragwort infested meadows. Well played.

  2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Sauce for the goose?

    So will they at the same time legalise the hacking of US-based computers by overseas users? Only seems fair...

    1. Crisp

      Re: Sauce for the goose?

      That was also my interpretation of the proposed "law".

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Isn't that China's (pre-emptive) interpretation as well ?

  3. malle-herbert
    Thumb Down

    Looks like...

    The FBI wants to play world-police too now...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Looks like...

      Come back Gerry Anderson, all is forgiven !

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Looks like...

      Fuck Yeah!

  4. James 51

    So if they hack a computer based in the UK will they be using Asperger syndrome as a defence against extradition for violating the computer misuse act?

    1. malle-herbert

      Re : Asperger syndrome...

      They don't have to... they'll just write a new law that makes it all perfectly legal...

      1. Kit-Fox

        Re: Re : Asperger syndrome...

        They don't have to... they'll just write a new law that makes it all perfectly legal...

        Perfectly legal in the US yeah, but then they had better never have a holiday in any EU country or we can use the EAW to have them shipped to the UK for trial and as we wont know which agent was responsible all should be held accountable, making the EU off limits to all FBI agents & employees

        Unless you mean our political idiots here in the UK will make a law making it legal for foriegn agents to hack computers willy-nilly which I cant see them slipping past the electorate with much ease (well I hope not anyways)

        1. FlatSpot
          Facepalm

          Re: Re : Asperger syndrome...

          "Unless you mean our political idiots here in the UK will make a law making it legal for foriegn agents to hack computers willy-nilly which I cant see them slipping past the electorate with much ease (well I hope not anyways)"

          You make at least two assumptions;

          1) That we get a vote which the MPs will take notice of. Can't remember the last time they actually voted in the interests of their constituents.

          2) That the mindless majority of the press won't play the terrorist, pedo we're all going to die unless it's allowed.

        2. Roo
          Windows

          Re: Re : Asperger syndrome...

          "Unless you mean our political idiots here in the UK will make a law making it legal for foriegn agents to hack computers willy-nilly which I cant see them slipping past the electorate with much ease (well I hope not anyways)"

          Err, laws, infrastructure, and a huge whacky shaped building already exists for exactly that purpose, surely you must have noticed all that heat and noise about Snowden, GCHQ & the NSA...

          1. Suricou Raven

            Re: Re : Asperger syndrome...

            There seems to be some sort of agreement in place, possibly informally: We don't try to arrest their spies, and they don't try to arrest ours. The US and Europe are still allies, and the social codes of alliances dictate that while both sides are fully expected to spy on the other, they aren't supposed to get caught doing it - and if they do catch someone spying for an ally, it wouldn't do to much a big fuss of it.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Re : Asperger syndrome...

              In response to Suricou Raven;

              The FBI are *NOT* spies or covert operations or any kind, they are an investigative & executive arm of the USA judiciary

              The FBI would require permission from the foreign country before carrying out operations on non-USA territory. I hate to say it but 'cyber-land' should be no different. FBI agents caught operating without permission in other countries are arrested & prosecuted at the moment, it should be no different if the FBI decide they can 'invade' other countries network infrastructures

      2. chivo243 Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Re : Asperger syndrome...

        I think Frank Zappa had songs about the Central Scrutinizer, who enforced the laws that haven't been passed yet------------------------------------------------------>

        Welcome to the epoch of the greater good.... There are already laws or protocols or whatever in place to justify invading the privacy anyone or any entity. Don't ask what they are, or you will end up with a one way trip to the gulag.

    2. Vociferous

      The UK - US lopsided extradition treaty basically means that the UK extradites UK citizens to the US for any reason whatsoever, while the US never ever extradites US citizens to the UK for any reason whatsoever.

      And if the EU tries to get fresh and sanction US officials committing crimes against EU citizens, that's going to be received very poorly in the US, with trade sanctions. Reminder that the former president of the USA had covert teams kidnap EU citizens off EU streets and sent them to Syria and Egypt for torture and murder, without any repercussions.

      So, basically, the US does whatever it likes, and no one can do anything about it, just like it's always been.

      1. TaktischeAbteilung

        Indeed. Germany and Britain lost a war in 1945. Since then, both countries are occupied by U.S. troops.

      2. Irony Deficient

        the US never ever extradites US citizens to the UK for any reason whatsoever

        Vociferous, I’ll refer you to this post from 2012, which points you to a written answer in Hansard from late 2011, which will provide you with the minimum number — a positive integer — of US nationals who have been extradited from the US to the UK. (Extraditions from the US to Scotland were not included in the answer.)

      3. Mark 65

        "And if the EU tries to get fresh and sanction US officials committing crimes against EU citizens, that's going to be received very poorly in the US, with trade sanctions."

        I wouldn't worry too much about that. You are getting to watch the rapid decline of an empire in real-time and once dollar hegemony ends so their nonsense will no longer be tolerated. In essence they can sanction at will because they control the dollar and lots is traded in it. In recent times central banks around the world have setup swap lines with the Yuan and trades are starting to be done in large size in other pairs - witness the Ruble/Yuan take your pick settlement for Russian gas. I'd imagine the Germans will soon be lining up for EUR/Ruble settlement. No need to price in dollars, no need to bow to the yanks. At best, and I do mean at best, the future reserve currency will be a currency basket thus giving them some influence. At worst the playground bully gets expelled. If you think about it all we get from them is actually from their global organisations that generally minimise their tax there so if push came to shove the USA really doesn't need to be involved.

        http://azizonomics.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/20120103_jpm_reserve.png

        When the dollar's time at the top ends things will get interesting for a country with $16tn debt.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "And if the EU tries to get fresh and sanction US officials committing crimes against EU citizens, that's going to be received very poorly in the US, with trade sanctions. "

        If you honestly think that US trade sanctions against Europe will harm Europe more than the US, I have this awesome suspension bridge in Brooklyn you may be interested in.

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Trollface

    I feel the cold wind jammering mine bones!

    Is it talk like a pirate day again already???

    ARR! Download ahead, that Orlowski fiend shall have no restin' for our wickedness!

  6. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    And here we go again...

    Using encryption labels you as a criminal.

    1. Ole Juul

      Re: And here we go again...

      Using encryption labels you as a criminal.

      Unless you're the FBI.

    2. Crisp

      Re: And here we go again...

      Well you've obviously got something to hide, or you wouldn't be encrypting it!

      Encryption just by itself seems to be regarded as suspicious by law enforcement bodies now, with absolutely no justification for that suspicion. The UK government fears encryption so much that they passed a law making it legal to compel a suspect to give up encryption keys.

      1. James 51

        Re: And here we go again...

        Violating the right to silence to (jack)boot but there you go. And once you've done your time, they can ask for the keys again.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And here we go again...

        >they passed a law making it legal to compel a suspect to give up encryption keys.

        They don't need to pass laws in the UK to make something legal. Everything is legal unless a law says otherwise. You seem to imply there is law that would allow law enforcement to torture you until you handed over a key which would be illegal. I think you mean they can prosecute you if you don't give up a key, not quite the same thing.

      3. Vociferous

        Re: And here we go again...

        The UK government fears encryption so much that they passed a law making it legal to compel a suspect to give up encryption keys.

        In fact they made it illegal and punishable by imprisonment to withhold encryption keys when asked for them.

        I am not convinced this law would survive being appealed to the EU court, as it equals both abandoning the presumption of innocence and reversing the burden of proof.

        1. James 51

          Re: And here we go again...

          Why do you think the tories want out of the EU?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: And here we go again...

            To abolish human rights.

            Since both the Tories and Labour see China as a role model, we are doomed.

            And Scotland, you're going down with us. It beggars belief that the majority can't see past the end of their noses...

        2. Suricou Raven

          Re: And here we go again...

          I'm not convinced it would matter. The UK would be quite able to simply ignore the court, as they did with the judgement requiring voting rights for convicts - the UK response was a legally binding requirement to pass legislation to do so. That was in 2005, and no legislation has been so much as introduced yet.

      4. Wensleydale Cheese
        Unhappy

        Re: And here we go again...

        "Well you've obviously got something to hide, or you wouldn't be encrypting it!"

        I use encryption every time I use rsync to copy between my Mac and my Linux box.

        Should I arrest myself?

    3. hplasm
      Mushroom

      Re: And here we go again...

      I suggest TOR honeypots filled with Stuxnet derivatives.

      Let the FBI eat cake.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Exactly the type of thing

    that will drive more people to darknet and drive the development of more obfuscation, more privacy, more security.

    If that is their ultimate goal - to basically make their work over the Internet impossible in the future. They're doing a bloody good job.

    Anonymous, just because, who I am, where I am, what I do, is none of your business.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Exactly the type of thing

      "Anonymous, just because, who I am, where I am, what I do, is none of your business."

      Anon.....except to The Register who are a covert government operation and track you and your comments before handing you over..

      1. TaktischeAbteilung

        Re: Exactly the type of thing

        They dont need overt cooperation. Most PHP scripting is shitty enough.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Exactly the type of thing

        No, intimidation only happens in <insert whichever country Davey boy doesn't like today>.

        Except when it happens in the UK.

        Peasant, know your place.

        1. cortland

          Re: Exactly the type of thing

          "You are Englishmen; mind your privileges, give not away your right."

          -- William Penn, speaking to the jury that (against instructions) acquitted him of breaking the King's Peace.

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  10. Elmer Phud
    Pirate

    Tempting

    It's things like this that bring out the juvenile in me and raises the possibility of actually downloading Tor

    and finding out about this menacing and perverting thing called 'Darknet'.

    I just love the adverts from the FBI and others.

    Oh, yes - almost forgot - AAAAARGH! time for me rum ration!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tempting

      Me too.

      Like the raspberry pi tor node from adafruit...

      plus some script on it randonly googling suspect terms then just format the sd card every few weeks.

    2. TaktischeAbteilung

      Re: Tempting

      If you dont run TOR, you effectively support their notion of this "being a criminal's tool". So, yes, please do it.

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: Tempting

        It's a handy tool for some of the more aggressive areas of forums and blogs too. There are certain topics which tend to bring out a vicious streak (Politics, religion, football, boy bands) - it's not difficult to incite an internet psycho who will then go off on a holy crusade to punish you for some perceived infraction (Insulting their god/endorsing views they believe threaten the country/suggesting Bieber doesn't write his own songs). I've seen these fanatics go quite crazy - in one extreme case, a particularly partisan political blogger went so far as to impersonate a debate opponent and create a website in their name endorsing sex with children. I've heard of others pulling stunts like contacting a person's employer claiming they were dismissed from their previous position for theft.

        With people like that around, taking measures to conceal your identity is only common sense.

  11. pewpie

    Scary..

    ..scare tactics. The fewer people that use TOR the easier it is for them to practice thier dogshit sniffery.

  12. TaktischeAbteilung

    Just EXCELLENT

    We can now easily harvest all their browser cyber ammo (courtesy their friends who fund the browser maker) by:

    1.) Running the TOR browser in some sort of memory checking and/or sandboxing environment

    2.) Browse www.religious-terroism-discussion.org

    3.) Sniff all network traffic

    4.) Wait for browser to crash and then inspect traffic. Fire upo debugger to inspect the goodies.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get a community of 100,000 volunteers.

    Have each one go out and take 100 out-of-focus photos of bugs, birds, flowers, slugs.

    Overlay the photo with random text.

    Save file and encrypt 2x. Combine two photos into a zip file, save as something "spicy(illegal)" in name.

    encrypt file again.

    Fire up Tor and have the 100K volunteers start trading the files.....

    That should drive them up a wall, when they can't figure out what is being traded......

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    This is gonna haunt them

    They are NOT the secret service, this one should be a game changer on the international front. They thought the NSA was bad? They haven't seen anything yet!

    I can seriously (duh!) see this leading to counter treaties aka sanctions against the USA from most other world leaders.

    Those UN folks will have their computers jacked by a non-secret service agency, not good at all.

  15. Keven E.

    When it's convenient.

    Does anyone really think that the CIA and the FBI don't (or haven't over their histories) "play well" together? Not that they like to let on to it...

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: When it's convenient.

      And the NSA does consulting work for both of them.

  16. Winters

    'murica!

  17. wub
    WTF?

    Damaged without authorization...

    Doesn't anybody else wonder why they added the '...without authorization...' phrase to the following:

    "or (B) in an investigation of a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5), the media are protected computers that have been damaged without authorization..."

    Evidently, there is no cause for enhanced interest if the damage occurred with authorization? What form do you have to file to get authorization to damage a system?

    1. Old Handle

      Re: Damaged without authorization...

      I was confused by that part as well. 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5) relates leaks that could be "used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation", but what's this talk about damaged computers in five or more districts? They must have had something specific in mind when they wrote that, but I can't really make sense of it.

      The only thing that comes to mind is perhaps they're talking about a botnet. But if so they're deliberately being very obscure about it.

      1. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: Damaged without authorization...

        The version of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5) available at http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1030 reads, at the citation:

        "(5)

        (A) knowingly causes the transmission of a program, information, code, or command, and as a result of such conduct, intentionally causes damage without authorization, to a protected computer;

        (B) intentionally accesses a protected computer without authorization, and as a result of such conduct, recklessly causes damage; or

        (C) intentionally accesses a protected computer without authorization, and as a result of such conduct, causes damage and loss."

        That sounds like (a) a cyberattack, and (b) what the FBI might do in executing a warrant.

        Prof. Ghappour's article, linked at the end, is much more balanced and measured than either this article or any of the comments (as of 1830 UTC).

      2. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: Damaged without authorization...

        The quote ("used to the injury of ...") is from 18 USC 1030 (a)(1), and appears to cover retention or disclosure to unauthorized persons of information obtained by unauthorized access or access exceeding authorization.

        The paragraph describes pretty completely what Edward Snowden is accused of and Bradley Manning was convicted of.

      3. Suricou Raven

        Re: Damaged without authorization...

        Botnets, possibly? They use technological means to conceal the location of whoever controls them.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Telling it like it is

    The name FBI always struck me as amusing because it would naturally have been FIB. It's the early meetings and anguish over changing the word-order in the name that makes me smile.

  19. Tim Roberts 1

    nobody has said yet ....

    Fuck you FBI , and

    Fuck you USA

    although it has been implied in many of the comments above

  20. Pete 8
    Joke

    Is this

    ...a disinfo artickle about the FBI hacking its own anonymisering proxy?

  21. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Silly me. There was I thinking all this time that the reason we had the DOHS was to provide coordination between agencies and promote information exchange that would make this bid for FeeBee Global Autonomy unnecessary.

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