Criminals use cell phones. And because police agencies know this, they tend to be a little more cautious about said phones than regular users. Cautious enough to, say, buy a special fully-encrypted phone that purports to be 100% untraceable, and use the completely hack-proof messaging app contained within. Some of those criminals came to regret it as they discovered their super-secret phones and messaging service were, in fact, provided by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation and other police forces around the world. Read More
Yesterday, Bloomberg Businessweek published a piece about a recent FBI investigation against Huawei for potentially attempting to steal trade secrets from an American company, this time with a serious twist: The tech that may have been stolen doesn't just apply to phones, it could also be used in weapons. The complicated story weaves its way from San Diego to Chicago and Las Vegas, recounting Akhan Semiconductor's attempts to license to Huawei its new Miraj Diamond Glass — a layered material alleged to be 6 times stronger and 10 times more scratch resistant than your current phone's Gorilla Glass, but with potential applications in powerful military lasers. Read More
YouTube TV isn't the only video service that seems to be running into problems today. According to widespread recent reports, many people are having trouble accessing specific Channels on their Roku set-top devices. The affected services, which include YouTube and Netflix, are allegedly showing an FBI anti-piracy warning message. Read More
Back in 2012, the FBI, Department of Justice, and other domestic and foreign entities teamed up to seize three sites that pirated Android apps: Applanet, AppBucket, and SnappzMarket. The fallout for some of the operators of those sites was known within about 18 months of the unprecedented crackdown. For the then-teenager behind Applanet, the largest of the three offending sites, the consequences were not determined until this week: He'll avoid prison time but will be placed under probation with some special conditions. Read More
There are several companies that offer encrypted and untraceable phones for use by the more private figures among us, and Canada-based Phantom Secure is one of them. However, its founder and CEO, Vincent Ramos, has been arrested by the FBI on several charges, all of which are related to selling locked-down BlackBerry phones to members of illegal organizations such as the Sinaloa drug cartel and the Hells Angels. Read More
In 1988, the FOX network in the US debuted a TV show called America's Most Wanted. It was a sensationalized and, to be honest, somewhat trashy dramatization of the crimes of some of the country's most violent fugitives, accompanied with their detailed descriptions and last known whereabouts. In between dimly-lit scenes recreating brutal murders and abductions, viewers were encouraged to call the show's hotline if they had any information. The call to action may have been a paper-thin veneer to justify the show's production... but it worked. In under a week one of the FBI's ten most wanted was arrested based on a viewer tip. Read More
Last year, there was a rather widely-covered story about a piece of Android malware (rather, an Android malware control suite) called Dendroid. That malware was published for sale on a cybercrime-aligned forum known as Darkode, and it just so happens that the FBI (with assistance from agencies in other nations) just arrested the guy who wrote Dendroid as part of a larger raid on Darkode's operators.
That guy is Morgan C. Culbertson, who has a pretty solid real name, but somehow the most tragically boring and uninventive criminal alias of all time: "Android." Come on, Morgan - you could have done better. Read More
If you've been following the Applanet/Appbucket criminal case, you know that the Department of Justice and the FBI have been working on bringing charges against a number of high-profile Android app pirates for the last eighteen months. Earlier this month the investigations and arrests paid off, as two of the men responsible for large-scale Android app piracy in the United States pled guilty to conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. The DOJ reported the news on its official public affairs portal.
Nicholas Anthony Narbone and and Thomas Allen Dye, both formerly of the well-known piracy site Appbucket.net, were charged with one count each, and both pled guilty to the charges on March 10th. Read More
Software piracy sucks. Ask any developer: app piracy is a major problem on Android, and more so on Android than on other mobile platforms, thanks to the relative ease of installing applications outside of the Google Play Store. But the United States Department of Justice is not turning a blind eye to mobile piracy. The Department charged four men with conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement earlier this week in Georgia's northern federal district court.
Kody Jon Peterson, a 22-year-old from Florida, was charged with one count on Thursday. Thomas Allen Dye (21) and Nicholas Anthony Narbone (26) from Florida and Thomas Pace (38) from Oregon were charged separately on Friday. Read More
One small and two major sites that have a long history of distributing pirated Android apps have been seized in a first of its kind operation conducted by the FBI, DoJ, and a variety of U.S. and foreign governments. These sites are:
Each of the taken down hosts is now displaying this FBI seizure notice
According to PC World, FBI agents downloaded numerous copies of paid Android apps as part of the operation before seizing all three domains and executing nine search warrants on August 21st. It's a little unclear whether the FBI and the DoJ will be pursuing criminal action against the site operators or whether anyone was detained. Read More