Megaupload's Skype IM chats obtained by FBI

Before US law enforcement officials shut down the Megaupload file sharing web site and arrested several of its employees earlier this month, the FBI obtained a search warrant from a US judge to obtain conversations between Megaupload employees. News.com reports that some of those conversations were critical of Megaupload's founder, Kim Dotcom.

Some of the records go back to 2007 and used both email and Skype IM logs. One chat log from an unnamed Megaupload employee stated that there were worries that Kim Dotcom was not "safe with his money". The chat files added that some employees felt that "the current situation is a bit risky."

At the moment, it's unknown as to how FBI investigators managed to obtain access to these Skype chat logs. Skype itself says it only stores the IM chat logs of its users for up to 30 days. Skype said they were not asked by the FBI to turn over any files and were never served with any court papers by the government.

The article hints that the FBI might have installed some kind of spyware on the PCs of Megaupload employees and obtained their chat and email conversations in that manner. The FBI has installed a type of spyware called CIPAV on suspects' PCs as part of its investigations in the past few years. It has been used to help with cases involving child molesters, hackers and organized criminals.

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I am going to wait for a statement from Skype itself and most likely be closing my account down. Your goverment makes me sick.

Riva said,
I am going to wait for a statement from Skype itself and most likely be closing my account down. Your goverment makes me sick.

re-read the article.

Irony in Skype? Kazzaa bit torrent downloader.. I doubt Skype had anything to do with it. That'd be another company FBI killed if it did. Think the FBI is gonna cost the USA alot more than the RIAA claims to have lost.

alexalex said,
Skype keeps ALL your chats for years ?

The desktop client will keep them saved on your computer if you choose to let it do so.

ThePitt said,
nice, they have axx to private conversations. Its their fault, they should read the skype agreement...

You should get a job with the government, you'd make the perfect bureaucrat. No common sense and excuses any behavior despite the obvious problems with it.

More people are becoming acutely aware that "law" enforcement agencies have been used on a regular basis by governments and the corporations that bought those governments to attack any target they wish. Selective enforcement is possible with anything because just crossing your street you probably broke six laws. When everything and anything is somehow a crime, everyone is susceptible to this nonsense.

The term "tinfoil hatters" just shows how easily the public is fooled into not questioning anything about "big daddy". Media is used to ridicule anyone that tries to question things. You live in the illusion of freedom and now your watching that get "legally" dismantled before your very eyes.

This is just the first step towards removing a "free" internet. One step forwards, two steps back will continue until anonymity becomes a commodity not a right or privilege. It'll come wrapped in the usual "terrorism, piracy or children" crap.

Larry Flynt said it best when he rightly said that by protecting the freedoms of someone like himself, someone you despise, you protect your own freedoms in the process.

I wonder if they can pin the whole "piracy thing" on Kim Dotcom and let the rest of Megaupload resume activities? One can hope

TCLN Ryster said,
I wonder if they can pin the whole "piracy thing" on Kim Dotcom and let the rest of Megaupload resume activities? One can hope

Why? Megaupload is crap.

TCLN Ryster said,

I liked Megaupload. Found it easy to use, and relatively fast.

I guess it depends on your needs. I just have my own server with unlimited space for my files. And a 100gb dropbox with unlimited rollbacks for my online backup (as well as a couple of hard drive backups including one Time Machine one).

Spirit Dave said,

I guess it depends on your needs. I just have my own server with unlimited space for my files. And a 100gb dropbox with unlimited rollbacks for my online backup (as well as a couple of hard drive backups including one Time Machine one).

Unlimited space? Do you have some sort of hard-drive factory or recipe for mixing up batches of storage bits from BuckyBalls and superglue in your front lawn or something?

CIPAV seems like a classic case of a slippery slope. The FBI originally tried to sidestep the the justice system with this form of wiretapping during a mere investigation by seeking permission at the FISC to use it during spy operations and for anti-terrorism (yes, there's that reason again - the "free card"). And now they're using it to shut down file hosts. Seriously...? In one case, they attempt to maintain national security, in another case, they sure aren't. It sucks when the tinfoil hatters are right.

How is it legal for the FBI to install spyware for the sole purpose of obtaining files without a warrant? Doesn't that completely negate the entire justice system?

spacer said,
How is it legal for the FBI to install spyware for the sole purpose of obtaining files without a warrant? Doesn't that completely negate the entire justice system?

Re-read the article mate, they DID have a warrant

Still doesn't make installing Spyware onto computers legal though. Obtaining logs from the compainies, and wiretapping... fair enough, but invading computers with malware? I don't think so.

spacer said,
How is it legal for the FBI to install spyware for the sole purpose of obtaining files without a warrant? Doesn't that completely negate the entire justice system?

You're not supposed to think about it that much, you're just supposed to go with it,
/sarcasm

spacer said,
How is it legal for the FBI to install spyware for the sole purpose of obtaining files without a warrant? Doesn't that completely negate the entire justice system?

They are FBI, everything is legal for them.

spacer said,
How is it legal for the FBI to install spyware for the sole purpose of obtaining files without a warrant? Doesn't that completely negate the entire justice system?

It's also entirely conjecture on the author of the articles part. Heck, the chat logs could have just been saved on the computers they seized from their properties.

TCLN Ryster said,

Re-read the article mate, they DID have a warrant

Still doesn't make installing Spyware onto computers legal though. Obtaining logs from the compainies, and wiretapping... fair enough, but invading computers with malware? I don't think so.

That is up to the judge. Installing a keylogger on the PC is no different than tapping a phone (which is considered normal with a warrant).

~Johnny said,

It's also entirely conjecture on the author of the articles part. Heck, the chat logs could have just been saved on the computers they seized from their properties.

This, everyone is so stuck on the FBI putting this spyware on someone system, when it isn't even know if that happened. See my first post at the top of the story, it's more likely that Kim saved the chats himself to use as a way to buy him self out of doing time and working with the Feds, he's done this time and again.

xendrome said,

This, everyone is so stuck on the FBI putting this spyware on someone system, when it isn't even know if that happened. See my first post at the top of the story, it's more likely that Kim saved the chats himself to use as a way to buy him self out of doing time and working with the Feds, he's done this time and again.

Yeah except in this case he's the ring leader. He has nothing to sell, nothing to trade. He's at the top. The feds like to make deals to work their way to a bigger fish but in this case he's the big fish. He's the guy they want. What could he trade that they would want? Chat logs incriminating himself? No I don't think so. This time around he's the top dog and he's the one going down.

Tim Dawg said,
Yeah except in this case he's the ring leader. He has nothing to sell, nothing to trade. He's at the top. The feds like to make deals to work their way to a bigger fish but in this case he's the big fish. He's the guy they want. What could he trade that they would want? Chat logs incriminating himself? No I don't think so. This time around he's the top dog and he's the one going down.

Lets hope...

sava700 said,
ugg... and will normal anti-spyware tools detect this CIPAV?

Doubtful, AV and Anti-Spyware apps work on definitions. So, they need to see a version of the app to build detection definitions for it. The FBI obviously keeps the installs very low and well targeted so it stays out of the definitions of major tools.

Frazell Thomas said,

Doubtful, AV and Anti-Spyware apps work on definitions. So, they need to see a version of the app to build detection definitions for it. The FBI obviously keeps the installs very low and well targeted so it stays out of the definitions of major tools.


it may still manage it with heuristics, like checking if a program modifies itself like a virus would

smooth_criminal1990 said,

it may still manage it with heuristics, like checking if a program modifies itself like a virus would

Heuristics, like any security measure, is a smoke screen at best. The virus author has the ability to reverse engineer and code around the heuristics engine while the engine doesn't get to learn the virus. The concept can work on mass market viruses where they attempt similar things due to a similar motive (key log you and upload to an FTP every 3 minutes), but it isn't a match at all for custom viruses that don't get mass exposure.