The FBI has sent a warning to private sector partners about foreign intelligence services using social media accounts to target and recruit employees with US government clearance.
“FIS [foreign intelligence services] officers will use popular US-based platforms and their respective countries’ social media platforms for personal and intelligence gathering/operations purposes,” the FBI said in a security alert the agency sent out in April.
The warning, authored by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, in conjunction with the FBI’s Office of Private Sector (OPS), was sent to government contractors whose employees hold various levels of security clearances.
The United States has seen a rash of former government employees defecting or helping foreign intelligence services over the past few years. These incidents started with the now-infamous Snowden case, to the most recent one, involving a former US Air Force service member who defected to Iran and then helped its newly adopted country hack her former Air Force colleagues.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations carried out a sting against Huawei Technologies last month over suspicions that China’s largest smartphone maker was stealing glass technology from an American start-up, Bloomberg Business week reported on Monday, adding yet another layer to the already complicated espionage case against the company.
Illinois-based tech start-up named Akhan Semiconductor, discovered that when its product – the diamond glass – was sent back from a San Diego laboratory owned by Huawei, it was severely damaged.
Adam Khan Suspected Huawei, of intellectual property theft, and reported it to the FBI. Investigators enlisted Khan and the company’s chief operating officer, Carl Shurboff, in a sting at the CES technology trade show in Las Vegas in January. a statement on Monday, Akhan said the company “believes that Huawei destroyed our product, shipped it to China without authorization, subjected it to tests that it was not authorized to conduct, and returned most of it to us in pieces.”
The sting came as the US expanded its efforts to crack down on intellectual property theft by China, particularly in the technology sector. Huawei, which was founded by a former People’s Liberation Army engineer Ren Zhengfei, has close ties to Beijing.
Last week, the US Department of Justice filed charges contending that Huawei stole trade secrets from a telecoms rival and violated US sanctions against doing business with Iran.
EFF filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice in May 2017 seeking records about the FBI’s training and use of Best Buy Geek Squad employees to conduct warrantless searches of customers’ computers.
A federal prosecution of a doctor in California revealed that the FBI has been working for several years to cultivate informants in Best Buy’s national repair facility in Brooks, Kentucky, including reportedly paying eight Geek Squad employees as informants.
EFF sent a FOIA request to the FBI in February 2017 seeking agency records about the use of informants, training of Best Buy personnel in the detection and location of child pornography on computers, and policy statements about using informants at computer repair facilities.The FBI denied the request, saying it doesn’t confirm or deny that it has records that would reveal whether a person or organization is under investigation. A suit was filed after the Department of Justice failed to respond to our administrative appeal of the FBI’s initial denial.
The Question: Should the authorities be allowed to use unlawful measures, such as hacking, in order to apprehend those who are doing so for financial gain?
We hear stories of Silk Road being shut down and the F.B.I arresting Ross Ulbricht as a result of unlawful activity. Silk Road was able to exist and function through the use of ‘darknet’ and ‘Tor’. Darknet uses peer-to-peer networks in order to remain anonymous, and Tor (aka The Onion Router) uses separate servers in order to disguise users online presence and location.
The paper trail that would normally accumulate during sales of over $1.2 billion to a million customers was hidden by the use of a virtual currency system called ‘bitcoin’. Bitcoin covered the financial tracks that are often left by credit card use online. The FBI discovered the six servers hidden in various locations around the world. These servers provided the data that exposed transactions, enabled the site to be shutdown, as well as the arrest of Ulbricht.