Smartphone monitoring – Green light for the bought Trojan

According to a media report, the BKA has been using the commercially distributed monitoring software FinFisher / FinSpy for several days. The authority had already purchased them in 2013.

Smartphone users can now be monitored by the BKA.

Smartphone users can now be monitored by the BKA.
Since January 10, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) has the permission to use a purchased almost five years ago monitoring tool also: According to a report of the “World” , the Federal Interior Ministry has the green light for the use of the software FinFisher / FinSpy for source telecommunications monitoring (sources -TKÜ).

Unlike recently of the “Sueddeutsche Zeitung” reported , the Federal Criminal Police have (BKA) the State Trojans thus far not been used in investigations. The “world” refers to safety circles.

The BKA own development can not do much

However, the BKA has two different programs: On the one hand, the already released and self-developed, in its capabilities but very limited RCIS (for Remote Communication Interception Software). On the other hand, the commercially distributed monitoring software FinFisher / FinSpy of the German-British company Elaman / Gamma.

The latter had already bought the BKA in 2013. Because of constitutional concerns, however, it was initially – and the “world” according to today – not used. It is intended to enable investigators to intercept communication data directly on the mobile devices of the monitored persons. This helps investigators avoid the increasingly used encryption of messages through messenger apps such as WhatsApp and Signal.

Criticism of the functional principle

 However, the devices must first be infected with a monitoring software that is introduced via vulnerabilities in the operating system. The state is fueling a dubious market for malicious software, critics say. They would rather see government agencies reporting such vulnerabilities to manufacturers so they can shut them down and improve overall IT security.

The RCIS, which was developed by the BKA for around 5.7 million euros, had already been officially released by the Ministry of the Interior in February 2016. But so far it has been used in only very few cases, it was said. The software is currently only able to listen to Skype conversations on infected Windows computers, but should be further developed.


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