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FBI Fingerprint Software Reportedly Contains Russian-made Code

Image: FBI Fingerprint Software Reportedly Contains Russian-made Code
(Dominic Lipinski/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 26 December 2017 03:20 PM

In allegations that raise concerns that Russian hackers could compromise American law enforcement computer systems, two whistleblowers said that the fingerprint-analysis software used by the FBI and more than 18,000 other U.S. law enforcement agencies contains code created by a Russian company with close ties to the Kremlin, BuzzFeed News reported on Tuesday.

This could give Russian hackers backdoor access to sensitive biometric information on millions of Americans, or even compromise wider national security.

The whistleblowers said that the Russian code was inserted into the fingerprint-analysis software by a French firm, which deliberately hid from the FBI the fact that it had bought the Russian code in a secret deal.

BuzzFeed News reviewed documents which appeared to back up the claims of the whistleblowers, who worked for the French company.

U.S. authorities already have acknowledged that Russian hackers have recently gained access to a wide range of American institutions, such as the Democratic National Committee's email servers and unclassified computers of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Following reports that Russian hackers managed to steal sensitive information on U.S. intelligence programs, the Department of Homeland Security in September ordered all federal agencies to stop using products made by the Moscow-based company Kaspersky Lab.

The whistleblowers said similar national security concerns should be raised in this instance, especially since the Russian company whose code ended up in the FBI's fingerprint-analysis software has Kremlin connections, including close cooperation with the Federal Security Service, the intelligence agency known as the FSB that is a successor of the Soviet-era KGB and has been implicated in other hacks of US targets.

Although cybersecurity experts said that without examining the code itself, they could not assess the danger of using the Russian-made code, any connection to the FSB would be enough cause for concern.

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In allegations that raise concerns that Russian hackers could compromise American law enforcement computer systems, two whistleblowers said that the fingerprint-analysis software used by the FBI and more than 18,000 other U.S. law enforcement agencies contains code created...
fbi, russia, investigation, fingerprint
298
2017-20-26
Tuesday, 26 December 2017 03:20 PM
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