4th Amendment vs Virtual Force by Feds, Trojan Horse Warrants for Remote Searches?

Can the government legally deploy malware for eavesdropping and remote searches, in order to investigate and control potential criminal activity? Here’s a look at the future of the Fourth Amendment if the Feds lawfully use virtual force to remotely search computers and how such Trojan horse warrants would work.

By Ms. Smith on Wed, 11/09/11 – 7:57am.


If you missed part one, Fourth Amendment’s Future if Gov’t Uses Virtual Force and Trojan Horse Warrants, then please go catch up with the rest of us. This time we’ll look at Remote Access Trojans (RAT) which are nothing new, yet assume that this government-injected malware/spyware was not detected by antivirus. Also in this case, we are not assuming the target is a SE (social engineering) victim who opens an email or clicks on a link that installs the backdoor into their digital life. This isn’t about if I agree or if I think that sort of privacy invasion is right (if you are wondering, then you’ve never read this blog huh?); this is about an interesting paper that discussed if the government/law enforcement can legally get around your Fourth Amendment rights and secretly install software for remote searches.Virtual Force

When the Feds used virtual force to “enter” computers infected with the Coreflood botnet and issue the ‘stop’ command, thereby disabling the malware, it was not considered a Fourth Amendment search. It did not “meaningfully interfere with a computer owner’s possessory interests over an infected computer” and required no Trojan horse warrant. While it ended successfully, and we don’t need botnets, that seems like a very slippery slope now that we are talking about surreptitiously installing software so law enforcement can sneak in through a backdoor for a remote search.

via Privacy and Security Fanatic: 4th Amendment vs Virtual Force by Feds, Trojan Horse Warrants for Remote Searches?.