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[Full-disclosure] German cops and spooks prep own spyware
From: lsi (stuartcyberdelix.net)
Date: Wed Feb 28 2007 - 02:05:00 CST
[this threat can be neutralised here:
The article below claims that standard anti-virus and firewall
software could neutralise it, however any government agency worth its
salt would ensure its software did not have a virus signature, and
that it used a port already open (eg. HTTP). So they are wrong,
The fix here is to scan the PC frequently for any new or changed
files, particularly in the system areas of the boot disk. All files
are hashed with MD5 or SHA1 and a database kept. Any new entrants
are flagged and must be authorised before the flag is dropped. For
maximum protection, the scan results, hash database and authorisation
procedure should be processed and stored by a different computer,
preferably at a different physical location.
German cops and spooks prep own spyware
Federal Trojan for 'online searches'
By Matthias Becker -> More by this author
Published Tuesday 27th February 2007 11:31 GMT
Analysis Germany's police and secret services are pushing for a legal
basis for "online house searches" - carried out without the knowledge
of suspects, using spyware similar to a Trojan.
The German public learned of the practice in November last year, when
a magistrate of the Bundesgerichtshof (Federal High Court) ruled that
there is no legal basis for such measures as part of police
Magistrate Ulrich Hebenstreit argued that house searches could only
be carried out openly, with the knowledge of the suspect. In his
view, and legal parlance, secretly searching a hard drive, whether in
private or for commercial use, constituted "a major interference with
the right to informational self-determination".
Moreover, because all data can be viewed and analysed by the
authorities - from private photos to email correspondence - the
suspect's right to refuse to give evidence was violated by the
Hebenstreit's decision received mixed response.
While the Home Office stressed that it immediately stopped online
searches, spokesman Christian Sachs says: "One organisational unit at
the Bundeskriminalamt (Federal Criminal Office) is currently working
on the technological basis for such online house searches. For
obvious reasons, we cannot comment on the technicalities."
Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Schäuble intends to introduce a law
to legalise the practice.
In fact, the measure, and online security in general, plays a major
role in his imminent "programme for the strengthening of public
"The internet of today is a training camp, and an open university for
terrorists," Schäuble says.
Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) president Jörg Ziercke believes the "Federal
Trojan" (as the project has been dubbed by the public) is necessary
because confiscating physical hard drives is almost useless. "They
store their data on the internet and encrypt the hard drive. That is
why we have to have access at the point of dissemination."
He said 99.9 per cent of German internet users will "have nothing to
How often German law enforcers have tried to infect the PCs of
suspects with Trojans is unclear. While the BKA talks about "only a
few cases", Minister of Justice Brigitte Zypries, of the Social
Democrats, knows of "four requests for online house searches so far".
However, the government, in an answer (PDF in German) to a written
parliamentary question, says so far there have been no online house
searches at all, because one request was rejected by the responsible
judge, while another attempt failed because of "technical
Influential German hacker organisation The Chaos Computer Club
published a statement pointing to the possible consequences of
successful infection with a Federal Trojan.
"The whole PC could be telecommanded, the webcam turned on, and the
room surveilled acoustically, email and chat conversion could be
However, the hackers are skeptical about the real danger posed by the
spyware, and dryly recommend that "a well managed firewall and anti-
virus software should take care of governmental or private spyware".
Mr Padeluun, a spokesperson of the data protection association
FOEBUD, says the whole debate is nothing but a "smoke screen".
"As long as we are talking about Trojans, the danger is quite small.
Another question, however, is if security agencies might soon be
allowed to bug a computer with small hardware, which is far more
difficult to detect." ®
stuart atcyberdelix.dot net - http://www.cyberdelix.net/
* Origin: lsi: revolution through evolution (192:168/0.2)
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