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Changes to Rule 41 Could Allow FBI to Hack Anyone


A major change to Rule 41 could be passed that allows for the FBI to use malware as a “search” tool…

Malware, a malicious software, could be placed on thousands of computers with a single warrant, if Congress does not block the changes made to Rule 41 by December 1, 2016.  To be honest, when I initially read this  I had two thoughts.  First, I am not doing anything wrong so  if the government wants to “search” my computer they can.  Second, if the government really wanted to “search” something, they would find a way.

Digging Deeper

However, after I think about this a bit more, what can installing malware on users’ PCs do?  If these are users who are suspected of a crime, that is one thing.  However, according to Wired, these thousands of computers that could be impacted are not those under suspicion.  So, why infect these endpoints with malware?  I am far from working for the Central Intelligence Unit, or Special Ops, but I think I am missing a piece of this puzzle.

Installing malware on innocent third-party computers could be detrimental.  What if something goes wrong and the malware installed shuts down the main systems or particular programs.  If it’s one person, that is one thing.  But, we aren’t talking about one person, we’re talking about thousands.  Therefore, more than likely we’re talking about businesses.  What would you do if your business’s systems were shut down for a week, a day, or even an hour because of some malware the federal government infected you with?

Lets keep going.  What if this was a medical facility?  We have all heard about the ransomware attacks that have shut down operations at hospitals and clinics, so who is to say something like that couldn’t happen with this?  Now, before anyone gets too antsy, I am in no way saying our government will use the malware maliciously.  What I am saying is, mistakes can happen.  Coding issues occur.  Can we really jeopardize innocent people’s lives over the FBI’s “search”?

What do you think?

What are your thoughts on the potential changes being made to Rule 41?


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64 thoughts on “Changes to Rule 41 Could Allow FBI to Hack Anyone”

    1. @Joe: Hi I’m British and a Socialist. I can also be hired out to hide under people’s beds.
      AND I still say ‘Such is the business of Governments’.

  1. The government needs to remember who they work for and what their place is. They have no business putting “malware” on anybodies computer. If they need to know what is on someones computer, they need to get off their ass and get a specific warrant for said computer. These pricks think they have the authority to do whatever it is that they want to do, well they don’t.

  2. The government should not, under any cicumstances have the power to carry out this type of thing. This is the proverbial slippery slope. We have given up so much of our freedom for a little security and it has to stop. We are at a time when we fear the government rather than the government fear the people. We are no longer a free people. Everything we do and say even in private is now collected and scrutinized by our government and now we give them the authority to conduct “Cyber Attacks”. It could easily be used for political targeting or worse. We the people have to restrain our government and regain control if it is even possible at this point.

  3. Mercy, hasn’t happen to me yet.It has happen to some that I know.They have had to have thier cp taken down and start from the beginning, renewing everything.

  4. And one day finally the wind blew in the black cloud of communism, unseen by all the dumb people who had been to busy taking selfies and posting about their day to day empty lives on Facebook.

  5. This has been happening to me for over 14 months now, and NO ONE(i.e. law enforcement, politicians, ACLU, EFF, FBI, FCC,etc.) will even “look” (investigate the problem because it can’t be true because I am lying!)

    All of this began as a result of
    re-filing a lawsuit int U.S. District Court in Sacramento on July 1, 2015.

    This lawsuit names the U.S., the State of California, Solano County, AT&T, Comcast, and others and includes violations of MOST of the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 AND 2008.

    Additionally. my phones have been tapped, both land line and cell phone(s), and I am unable to access my email or my computer systems at home. Even when I am logged into my public library account anywhere in the county, I am being harassed in real-time 24/7. ANY computer, whether or not it is connected to the Internet via cable or wireless.

    This even violates the “PATRIOT Act(s)” in REVERSE; “they” are the ‘suspected’ domestic terrorists…

  6. Watch for the Malware RAT – (remote access Trojan)
    We had it installed unknowingly on 3 Computers at work, No Warrant no nothing, the Dam RAT Malware is hidden in Boot X in the MBR it was a real pain to find and remove and i am a Compute Tech!

    1. Never use Wireless if you have a hard line to use.
    2. Disable all RPC remote computer access points in Services.
    3. Secure your Router, i have bit defender and Zone alarm as well.
    4. Be vigilant and check your PC event log daily in computer management.
    5. Tape off your Cam and Mics on Laptops, as they love to use the AUDIO.EXE file, that is there favorite.

    The Attacks are very very hard to fight, once the Bee’s as i call them get focused on you it is almost a FULL time Game/Challenge to battle these Pricks!

    I have reformatted win 7 and win 10 over 20 times in the last month!
    I am working on a secure “Clone” and portable smart drives a my next approach. i will have various OS drives i can swap out in a dimes time on a daily basis as we are no longer safe from Invasion of Privacy!

  7. Being 70 years old I can remember when privacy was something all people in the US had. Something that you never even thought about. But, in todays world our privacy is something that no longer exists and one must realize that there are many people that for whatever reason, their mind has become twisted to the point that they feel obliged to remove from our lives the Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness, that we as Americans were endowed with. It is even more disturbing to think that some of the entities set on removing the existence of these inalienable rights are the same people, and I use the reference very loosely, that created them. This is truly a double edged sword. Perhaps, as long as they are going to do this, with or without the permission of Congress, they could develop the program to include the removal of all other malware, viruses, that infects my computer on a daily basis. yeah right? And of coarse you have to take into consideration that any information gathered will be subject to the interpretation of the gatherer who is most likely somewhat twisted in the first place. Lots of luck

    1. I assume all these machines will be Microsoft Windows based? Apple will put up a hell of a fight if they want to infect Apple’s hardware, and rightly so. Windows itself will be pretty easy to infect as ‘thousands’ of machines are infected with some sort of malware anyway unbeknownst to the owners. Will this result in more people moving to Macs?

  8. Well, is infecting thousands of computers with malware so one can track a few computers a legal method or advoiding a ratio profiling charge?????

  9. The 4th Amendment is pretty clear that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures…”
    I find it outside the realm of “security” to infect computers with Malware so government agencies can look into my computer activities without probable cause. It also requires Judges to allow search warrants for “probable cause”. “Just because” is not a probable cause and “because we can” doesn’f meet that test either. Even if Congress approved the change you can’t change the constitution without a national discussion and vote to either modify or abolish the amendment in question.
    It’s troubling to me that a non-judicial agency in the Dept of Commerce already has 100% of my credit card records that they “will share with other agencies” in the NAME of “statistical gathering. This was reported to Congress in Oct of 2014 that by the end of that year they would know about everything we purchase through credit cards (for instance ammunition, guns, medication, etc.)
    Go just one step further – if the government can erode 4th amendment rights so easily next becomes “free speech” because they don’t like what you said (already talked about as “hate speech” for instance). Some would have us believe that its okay in the name of Security; I find that mind-set naïve.

  10. The Federal government is doing all it can to CONTROL the internet. Planting anything on someones computer to spy on them should be against the law. I am against Rule 41 being changed. I am also against Obama trying to give away the internet to the United Nations. The internet should be free to anyone around the world. It’s not Obama’s to give away to anyone or any organization.

  11. The Constitutiinal solution is for the Justice Department to take their case to Congress. Again, this is the Executive Branch going to the Judicial Branch asking them to rewrite the Fourth Amendment.

  12. What about the international effects of this?
    I know that my own government will just bend over and take one for Nato but are the Chinese and the Russians going to be as accomodating?
    I just thought about N. Korea and Iran now there’s a thought.
    BTW. I have no doubt that the CIA is already using such spyware (such is the business of spies).
    Will PC Matic have to auto-whitelist is the base question.


      1. @Kayla Thrailkill: If only you did a version for my elderly aunt who is still on very slow dial up. Her politics are Paranoid Democrat so she’d love it.
        Just in case someone wonders we are Cardiff UK and She is Penryn CA – Thanks for the response! Great Unique Selling Point!

  13. This is pronounced (or spelled) as “collateral damage” by your government and military when they are killing innocent people all around the world!

  14. If they can plant malware on your system, and you say or do something they don’t like (NOT illegal, they just don’t like it)…then they can plant anything else on your system to insure their success at destroying everything you’ve ever worked to gain in your life. Home, family, work, reputation…and in the end…a man’s good name is the most valuable thing he owns.

    No, this kind of power is a step too far. No government is capable of self control, they prove it every day.

  15. This is always what happens when the Government sees that you have something it wants. If they can’t have it, they destroy it the way a child would say ‘If I can’t have it, you won’t have it either. When, in the history of Civilization has ANY government been satisfied with whatever power it has? Correct answer: NEVER. This government has the people so paranoid that the people will stand in like to hand over their freedoms to be safe. The Soviet Union was a ‘safe society’. In their hayday, you could walk the streets after midnight and never be in danger of being molested (except, again, by the organs of government like the KGB). But they would have told you ‘If you’re doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide.’. However, nowadays, the fact that you don’t like your privacy impugned is de facto proof to them that you DO have something to hide. And Kayla, I’m soory but I am SO sick of hearing the ‘justification’ ‘It’s for the children.’ While such things might be heinous, even the person(s) being investigated have rights. Once you start making excuses like THAT, the camel has fimly placed his nose under the tent.

  16. As the author of this article said in the beginning, if they know someone they want to know more about, they can hack that person or entity. This leaves the door wide open for bigger and more dangerous things the government can do to us and no government deserves that kind of trust.

  17. in 500 years, the history books might detail how American’s in their trusting wisdom permitted & gave up their basic human rights to their government not understanding how all previous great society’s who did this, FAILED!

  18. Just like with “gun control” we are asked to trust a government that doesn’t trust us. Our government continues to shred the Constitution with every new adventure like this.

  19. Guys this crosses too many lines. My computer is my private property and for the government to search it they need a warrant and probable cause. Nope this is very very wrong and I hope like hell the FBI is not allowed to do it or any other government agency.

    1. @Bob: “If it’s one person, that is one thing. But, we aren’t talking about one person, we’re talking about thousands.” No!—one innocent person’s computer is too many. Thousands of innocent person’s computers is equally too many.

    2. @Bob: Couldn’t agree more Bob. Some things I have less of an issue with, for example the camera systems in major cities to help investigate crime in PUBLIC spaces. As of right now all the “instant investigative tools” on TV i.e. NCIS where in a couple of keystrokes they have access to every aspect of someones life don’t exist (although they can get the information it just takes longer and for some things a warrant). Malware will start the slippery slope to the massive data collection that brings this to a reality. As a result our constitutional rights will be trampled as our private information will be accessible without a warrant.

      In Florida there was a recent news story in the Tampa Bay Times about abuses of the DMV database. The rules for accessing the database are very stringent and most of the errors were innocuous and self reported by the officers involved to the DMV when they realized what happened. But some people who had access used the database to check up on ex-spouses and others in violation of policy and faced consequences for their actions.

  20. You state that the FBI maybe able to install malware on PC’s if Congress changes Rule 41. That’s awesome (not!) I live in Australia and the US Government (like many others, including mine) are in the process of ‘dumbing down’ society in order to manipulate and force ever more stringent control on their societies.

    As an Australian I’m not subject to the rules of your FBI, CIA or any other US law enforcement (note enforcement) organisations and they have no legal control over anything I do until it either adversely affects the safety of US citizens or until I physically enter your sovereign waters.

    History is full of instances where viruses (real viruses) have been introduced for a specific purpose. EVERY last one of them has gotten out of control and
    caused more problems than they fixed.

    Can the FBI state emphatically that they wont loose control, cause more problems and worse than that, infect people NOT under it’s own laws? Of course they can’t and anyone who says they can control this is a complete moron and proof that the governments ‘dumbing down’ tactics are working!

  21. I don’t exactly trust the federal government either, especially after Hillary Clinton obtained so many of their (FBI) files on all kinds of government officials (no wonder the SCOTUS allowed Obamacare to stand). The same goes for Homeland Security and other federal “lettered” agencies. Numerous kinds of abuse and mistakes can occur as noted by commenters above.

    BUT, sometimes the “malware” they would deal in could be used for working with child porn rings, drug rings, Al Qaida and other terrorist actors (including cooperating US citizens, legal,and illegal aliens) within our borders to fulfill the genuinely legal purpose that our representatives have given the agents to protect us. The malware can lock up computers, capture evidence, and also allow surveillance without the “bad guys” knowing. While Kayla did seek to clarify the issues a little beyond the attention-grabbing headline, neither she nor outsiders who comment on these very intricate and arcane issues probably understand all of the complexity involved.

    1. @Old Professor: I love it when someone with a different opinion says the others ‘don’t understand’. We DO understand. We understand that absolute authority corrupts. We understand that they can infect thousands of those that AREN’T guilty of a crime. You are willing for that to happen to catch those that are guilty of crimes, disgusting or otherwise. Do you also support our ‘right’ to own a gun even if some do abuse it and schools and other innocents are occasionally in the crosshairs??

  22. Once the FBI is allowed to install malware on our computers, what to prevent foreign government and hackers to exploit the FBI malware for their own gain. In other words, bring America to its knees, take down the electric grids, etc.

  23. Here’s one tidbit that seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle of all this,..
    How does this mitigate the idea of placing nasty information, or child porn, or ANYTHING else “they” want to, on your computer?
    The “prison for profit” system needs a steady flow of inmates, guilty or not – and MANY are not – and this would provide ways for an unscrupulous, dishonest and immoral “agency” – 3 things our government seems to “pride” itself on – to receive kickbacks or outright financial gain from providing “inmates,” guilty or innocent, ‘cuz it doesn’t really matter to them if the cell is filled with the body of an innocent person, as long as they get ahead. These “people” are called sociopaths, and WILL cut off your face to spite your nose, so to speak.
    Always follow the money. And in this little “endeavour,” there is a LOT of money to be had.

    This “rule” needs to be changed, and i do mean NOW.
    WE THE PEOPLE demand it, and we are the government, and those who represent us are supposed to do the will of WE THE PEOPLE.
    You may say they haven’t done the will of WE THE PEOPLE for a long time now, but if that is the case, why aren’t we shooting? Our forefathers would have been firing a LONG time ago.
    Don’t believe me? Read history.

    We must all “hang together,” or we will surely hang separately. BF

  24. Fred Flinstone, IV

    “FBI Authorized to Infect Thousands With Malware”

    That’s what the headline is in the email sent by PC PitsTop.

    Try this click bait one more time and you lose a subscriber.

    It would also help if the article wasn’t so poor, making the “pull in the views’ tactic even more obvious.

  25. So now the FBI would be able to violate Public Law?

    18 U.S. Code § 1030 – Fraud and related activity in connection with computers @

    No, if you read this law, it applies only to computers used for either Government business, or financial institutions. Nothing to prohibit planting malware in the computers of ordinary citizens.

    1. @Robert Connors: Now you’re getting it!
      Once a person realizes the implications of these types of ideas – like you have – you also realize that this isn’t simply a matter of “since i’m doing nothing wrong, i have nothing to worry about.”
      If “they” are allowed to do this to the innocent, the innocent won’t be innocent for long.

  26. The government has their fingers in our lives far too much. This would be just another way of getting to the point of controlling the American public

    1. @Morris Williams:
      FINALLY! Someone who actually gets it!
      For those who don’t get it,..yet,..
      Right now their fingers are caressing you and whispering sweet nothings in your ear, which makes you feel all warm & fuzzy while thinking “i’m not doing anything wrong, so i have nothing to worry about.”
      Until “they” decide that you are another “cog” in their machine of nastiness & greed (mostly greed), and you find yourself wishing that you would have stood up for the innocent – including yourself – a whole lot more.

      ANY time that OUR GOVERNMENT is doing things openly that are questionable, all the while insisting it is necessary for “national security” or “the greater good,” i can’t help but remember a hard-reality of life,..
      “Those who give up any amount of their liberty for a small amount of perceived safety, deserve neither safety or liberty, and will eventually end up with neither.”

      The prices we have paid for liberty and freedom should NEVER be looked upon as incrementally small.
      It is MUCH easier to give up liberty & freedom, than it is to gain it back.
      Never forget that once liberty & freedom are gone, even in small amounts less than totality, it is very difficult to regain.
      Set your mind to DEMAND that your liberties & freedoms are maintained, at all levels, before we are all sitting on our hands, rocking back & forth, wishing we had done something sooner to save it all.

  27. To anyone seriously thinking its ok to give up a constitutional right to any govt. entity because you have nothing to hide I say, “Wake up and wise up!” Abuse of these powers(malware, Patriot Act, etc.) goes unchecked and unaccountable.

  28. Is placing malware on a private computer even legally constitutional. Where is our right to privacy? How do you stop such rule changes?

  29. Jack of some trades

    To me this is crossing the line. Seems the government already has more than enough power. And re David’s comment above, as a US citizen I don’t have much faith in the honesty and morality of our institutions either.

  30. Couldn’t this fall under illegal search and seizure??? Not sure how the law reads in that department and maybe it’s something that needs to go before the Supreme Court.

  31. The problem with this “foot in the door” agenda, is that it lends itself to misuse, whether purposeful or accidental. A good example of this is last year’s taxes. While my payment was correct and paid on time, the IRS’s computer miscalculated and adjusted my gross annual income which required me to pay more. While it’s been proven, the IRS said I still needed to pay and would be refunded upon review. It’s been close to a year and still refund.

  32. So the headline is BS ? I actually dont like the possibility of the FBI planting any kind of program on my computer without a warrant. With a warrant I dont have a problem. I want them fighting the bad guys without losing protections. The headline still stinks

  33. Since when is it OK to cause harm to individual because of suspicion. This is not “access” as in serving a warrant. Can’t believe anyone would think this is OK.

  34. The very act of distributing malware is a malicious act. Just because we “don’t have anything to hide” doesn’t mean we should be okay with ANYONE snooping through our lives.

  35. I hear the same thing from many of my clients: “I don’t have anything to hide…”
    But that’s not the point. The point is that they’re coming through the front door without knocking, especially with a ‘one warrant fits all’ sort of approach. We all (at least at *this* point in time!) *should* still have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

  36. Malware is malware, no matter who created it or what their motivation. And, I am afraid, as a non-US citizen I have a lot less faith in the honesty and morality of your institutions than you apparently do.

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