FBI Stories March 9

Google has issued a statement stating that ‘many’ of the Android exploits reportedly used by the CIA have already been addressed. Google’s statement used similar wording to one issued earlier by Apple.

As we’ve reviewed the documents, we’re confident that security updates and protections in both Chrome and Android already shield users from many of these alleged vulnerabilities. Our analysis is ongoing.

But the WSJ reports that they and other tech companies are being hampered by two factors …

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FBI Stories March 7

Wikileaks claims that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has a specialized unit within its Center for Cyber Intelligence that is devoted to developing and obtaining zero-day exploits for Android devices, in addition to one targeting Apple’s iOS. A zero-day exploit is one unknown to Google or security researchers, so cannot be protected against.

A similar unit targets Google’s Android which is used to run the majority of the world’s smart phones (~85%) including Samsung, HTC and Sony. 1.15 billion Android powered phones were sold last year. “Year Zero” shows that as of 2016 the CIA had 24 “weaponized” Android “zero days” which it has developed itself and obtained from GCHQ, NSA and cyber arms contractors.

The CIA is also said to have teams working on attacking Windows and Samsung TVs, ‘which are turned into covert microphones.’

Wikileaks further claims that the CIA recently ‘lost control’ of the majority of the malware it uses to attack devices …

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Everyone can use an Echo Dot: Just $50!

FBI Stories March 3, 2016

Google today has joined over twenty other tech companies and filed a joint amicus brief with the U.S. federal court, expressing support for Apple in its battle with the FBI over unlocking an iPhone used by one of the gunmen in the San Bernardino terrorist attack. Google filed a joint brief with companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Snapchat. Another joint brief was also filed today by Twitter, Airbnb, and others.  Google explained its motives in a blog post, curiously never mentioning Apple by name…

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FBI Stories July 13, 2015

Google Capital leads $100M investment to fund growth by Crowdstrike cybersecurity company

Google Capital has led a $100M investment in Crowdstrike, a cybersecurity company with strong government ties, reports the WSJ. Supporting investors include Rackspace, Accel and Warburg Pincus.

Its head of investigations, Shawn Henry, is the former top computer-crimes official at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Crowdstrike’s D.C.-based chief technology officer, Dmitri Alperovitch, has a long history of calling out foreign hacker groups.

Crowdstrike offers a remote monitoring service for its clients’ networks, aiming to detect hacking attempts at an early stage. Where hackers have already penetrated, the company works to identify the group responsible.

Google Capital was formed last year to provide funding for successful companies looking for growth. It sits alongside Google Ventures, which provides early-stage funding for startups. Google Capital partner Gene Frantz said that they were “blown away” by the company tripling its billings year-on-year.

“We were blown away by CrowdStrike’s incredible growth and impressive customer adoption,” said Gene Frantz, partner at Google Capital. “They have a truly unique SaaS-based endpoint security model, a highly scalable subscription revenue model, and a visionary technical approach that has huge potential to transform the industry, which is why we’re thrilled to make this investment.”

FBI Stories May 19, 2015

Google among those asking Obama to reject calls for government access to encrypted data

Google and Apple have co-signed a letter calling on President Obama to reject any government proposal to allow the government backdoor access to encrypted data on smartphones and other devices. The Washington Post says the letter, due to be delivered today, is signed by more than 140 tech companies, prominent technologists and civil society groups.

The signatories urge Obama to follow the group’s unanimous recommendation that the government should “fully support and not undermine efforts to create encryption standards” and not “in any way subvert, undermine, weaken or make vulnerable” commercial software.

The FBI has been pushing increasingly hard to require tech companies to build in backdoor access to their encryption systems to allow access by law enforcement, even going so far as to say that Apple could be responsible for the death of a child. a NY District Attorney has also cited public safety as justification for demanding access to encrypted data.

The letter calling on Obama to reject this argument is also signed by five members of a presidential review group appointed by Obama in 2013 to assess technology policies in the wake of leaks by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

Many in the tech industry have pointed out that, aside from the obvious concerns over government intrusion into the private lives of its citizens, any backdoor used by the government could potentially be discovered and exploited by hackers and foreign governments.

FBI Stories January 7, 2015

Bloomberg reports that a Manhattan District Attorney is challenging recent moves by Apple, Google and other tech companies by suggesting government pass laws that prevent mobile devices from being “sealed off from law enforcement.” In an interview this week, the government official called it “an issue of public safety.”

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