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WSJ: FBI can remotely activate Android and laptop microphones

Thought you had privacy still? FBI can remotely activate Android and laptop microphones, reports WSJ
By: Anthony Garreffa | Hacking & Security News | Posted: Aug 2, 2013 5:31 am

If you still thought you had privacy after all of the news you've been reading about the NSA PRISM system, or the GCHQ, then you'd be wrong. Very wrong. The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that the FBI has the power to remotely activate microphones in Android smartphones and laptops to record conversations.




This is all coming from a single anonymous former US official, who says that remotely forcing a cellular microphone to listen in on a conversation isn't something new. The FBI used something they called "roving bugs" to spy on alleged mobsters back in 2004, and further back in 2002 they used the roving bugs to keep tabs on supposed criminals using the microphone in a vehicle's emergency call system.


The anonymous US official said that there is a dedicated FBI group that regularly hacks into computers, where they use a mix of custom and off-the-shelf surveillance software which they purchase from private companies. One of the Journal's sources said that the "Remote Operations Unit" will sometimes install software by physically plugging in a USB device, but they can also do it through the Internet by "using a document or link that loads software when the person clicks or views it."


So, if you still thought you had privacy, you might want to think again. While there's riots in other countries for much less, the freedom is being sucked away from American's at a rapid rate, without much argument.


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