A judge ruled that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has to provide every detail of their operation on the dark web that resulted in the hacking of around 1,000 computers. When asked, Colin Fieman, a federal public defender, said that the report will also include the malware used in the attack. His official statement goes by:
“The declaration from our code expert was quite specific and comprehensive, and the order encompasses everything he identified.”
Fieman is defending Jay Michaud, a former Vancouver worker who was arrested for possessing child porn material. The man was busted in the same operation by the FBI where the agency seized PlayPen, a child porn website, and used as a bait for catching users. The bureau used an NIT (network investigative technology) to acquire the IP address, Mac address and other technical details of the hidden service users.
The case has caught the attention of several civil liberties activists since the three-letter-agency used only one warrant for acquiring private information of unknown suspects from all over the world. Also, the FBI by using NIT on PlayPen, has literally distributed child porn.
According to official court documents, the Federal Bureau of Investigation harvested around 1,300 IP addresses and about 137 people have been charged so far.
The code of NITs has already been revealed to the public in the past. In Operation Torpedo, a similar case in 2012, the government provided details of its technique, which turned out to be a novel use of popular hacking-toolkit called Metasploit. The FBI used a Flash applet to make a direct connection to the internet, instead of routing the targets’ traffic through Tor.
“The order yesterday requires disclosure of all the code components,” Fieman told the media.
Peter Carr, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice, made this statement:
“The court has granted the defense’s third motion to compel, subject to the terms of the protective order currently in place.