Dave Sherohman esper at sherohman.org
Mon Dec 3 07:58:48 PST 2001

On Mon, Dec 03, 2001 at 02:40:41PM +0300, Vladimir Katalov wrote:
> The FBI is reportedly using an e-mail worm to capture computer
> passwords. The Magic Lantern worm is a part of the Cyber Knight
> computer surveillance program, which allows the FBI to secretly
> install the eavesdropping software via the Internet in order to record
> every keystroke a person makes on their PC.

Assuming Magic Lantern exists (which seems likely), I have seen no
reliable information which would indicate that it has any viral or
worm-like characteristics.  It's a plain old trojan, sent to
specifically-targeted individuals. There has been no indication that
any FBI-supported software would attempt to spread itself to new
hosts, and I find it very unlikely that they would use anything which
does so, as it would almost completely eliminate any chance of the
program being accepted by the court system.

A more minor detail is that Magic Lantern's purpose is not to capture
passwords in general.  It specifically targets PGP/GPG passphrases.

When we reduce our own liberties to stop terrorism, the terrorists
have already won. - reverius

Innocence is no protection when governments go bad. - Tom Swiss

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