FBI enlists aid of viruses to track suspects

Heavily redacted documents obtained by Wired magazine under the Freedom of Information Act show that the FBI has been using software it calls CIPAV — Computer and Internet Protocol Address Verifier — for nearly a decade.

Agents lure the target, usually someone who's concealing his Internet Protocol (IP) address to mask his identity, into clicking on a certain Web site, which infects his machine with the CIPAV software.

CIPAV then "phones home" to tell the FBI the target's IP address, operating system and serial number, installed software, list of recently visited Web sites, registered name and a whole lot of other stuff that's whited out in the documents.

It's been successfully used against suspected extortionists, sexual predators, bioterrorists and even one person thought to be impersonating an FBI agent.

FBI Uses Computer Viruses to Spy on Suspects (Fox News, 22 April 2009)