According to reports from ethical hacking specialists, the FBI has revealed its intentions to gain access to an “early monitoring” tool of social media. Presumably, this kind of software would allow the agency proactive surveillance of potential national security threats.
The FBI reportedly aims to monitor the activity of terrorist groups, intelligence agencies in other countries, organized crime and other potentially dangerous groups that use social media platforms to boost their activities.
“The agency’s research subjects frequently use some of the existing social media platforms; as people who put national security at risk, it is vital for the FBI to have a tool to identify relevant information about the activity of these people of interest on Facebook, Instagram before a situation arises catastrophic,” the agency’s request mentions. The FBI filed the original application for almost a month, although it was amended this week to extend the response period, which will expire on August 27.
Ethical hacking specialists believe that social media has increasingly become a showcase for illicit and violent activities. A clear example is the mass shooting that occurred either year in New Zealand, in which the perpetrator opened fire on two mosques, killing 50 people and injuring dozens more. The attacker reportedly posted a manifesto of more than 70 pages on his social networks, and also transmitted the attack via Facebook Live.
Another known case is that of the individual who killed three people at a festival in California just a few days ago; Authorities found online a version of a racist manifesto dating back to 1890 written by the shooter.
The FBI hopes to anticipate the occurrence of these cases under the premise that “virtually all incidents of interest to the agency are discussed online”, as mentioned by U.S. government officials “Proactive work on social media would allow the agency to detect, prevent and investigate thousands of security incidents.”
Ethical hacking experts mention that this tool would require extensive capabilities to give the entire corporation access to all resources available on social media through any web browser and any device. Companies interested in participating in the development of this project should present in their proposals some elements such as:
- The ability to create filters to search for specific content
- Sending real-time alerts and notifications about relevant information
- Wide international reach and advanced translation and information adaptation capabilities
- Real-time location-based information monitoring
According to specialists in ethical hacking of the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) this crime prevention activity could also be extended to subjects of interest who have been involved in completed criminal investigations, with what the agency seeks to integrate into the largest known crime-related database. The contract for this project will be awarded according to variables such as cost and development time; the agency intends to award a one-year base contract with four additional one-year options.