The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) likely hacked into the TorMail accounts of innocent people during a 2013 investigation, published reports alleged this week.
An anonymous source told the Washington Post that the FBI used a type of spyware called a network investigative technique (NIT) with a warrant to gather information on a child pornography suspects. However, Vice's Motherboard, citing a 2013 Wired article that stated the FBI likely gathered information from others passing through the site who were not associated with its investigation.
In 2013, the FBI seized the TorMail domain which afterwards began displaying an error message that unbeknownst at the time, was delivering spyware that targeted user anonymity to anyone attempting to visit the site, Wired said.
The report quoted reverse-engineer Vlad Tsyrklevich that it was "pretty clear" that the FBI or another U.S.-based law enforcement agency was distributing the code because identifying information was sent to an IP address in Reston, Va.