A security expert has said that the US government is “shipping” software to some of its private companies that encrypts web browsing sessions so they can’t be easily traced.
The news follows the revelation that the NSA has been secretly working on software to “rebuild” a number of public-key encryption systems, including Apple’s iOS and Google’s Chrome.
It is thought to be the first time a government has been using software to bypass the security protections of private companies, according to security researcher and journalist Evan Greer.
Greer says the FBI is selling software that would allow the agency to access data stored on encrypted websites, and the NSA is using it to access encrypted data on servers in the United States.
He told the BBC: “They’re sending them a bunch of software that they’re supposed to have installed in their computers, but they’re not really encrypting it.”
“So you’re not trusting it with your data, but it’s allowing them to access it,” he added.
“It’s just one more step in the process of enabling the NSA to be able to collect data on anyone they want.”
The US has long been a proponent of encryption, and there have been a number efforts to do so by the government since the first encryption-enabled browsers were introduced in the late 1990s.
Greary said the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security were apparently looking to sell the software in order to get around the data protection laws that exist in many countries.
He said: “This is basically like the NSA buying a server and selling it to a private company, in order for them to bypass encryption protections.”
He added that while it is not clear whether the software is used by the FBI, it is believed to be.
The software was not immediately available to the public, and it is understood to be “designed” for use by law enforcement agencies in some jurisdictions, but not in others.
“There is a concern that this software is being sold to the FBI for a purpose other than encryption,” said Greer, adding that it was also not clear how much money the government was making from selling the software.
“I’m not sure that this is going to be a major security concern for the US.”‘
There are some problems’The FBI has not confirmed the report, but the bureau has been under fire recently over allegations that it is using surveillance tools to track down Americans who are using the internet to communicate anonymously.
In July, the FBI claimed it had evidence it was being used to track US citizens and foreign suspects, which it had previously refused to do.
The agency also claimed it was not able to obtain warrants to collect information from overseas phone calls and email, and was not being able to do this without the approval of a judge.
Last month, it emerged that the FBI was using “zero day” vulnerabilities in some popular web browsers in an effort to monitor people’s activities online, and to steal emails and other sensitive data.
It has also been revealed that the government had been gathering information about the use of encryption software, including what software had been installed on devices to encrypt data.
The report was made public on Wednesday after the Wall Street Journal published an article claiming the FBI had bought a suite of zero-day vulnerabilities to spy on internet users.
The FBI’s investigation into the report did not identify which vendors were being sold the software, but a senior law enforcement official told the Journal that it did not seem to be targeted at any specific company.
The company being sold was not identified by name, but did not disclose its name.
“The FBI is actively investigating these claims.
The FBI does not identify vendors of zero day vulnerabilities,” the source told the WSJ.
However, the WSZ said that it had seen no evidence of the FBI buying software that allowed the agency’s agents to access the data stored in a website’s “back-end” encryption.
It also said that while the FBI’s purchase of zero days did not require approval by a judge, it was still possible the software was being sold without such approval.
“The investigation is ongoing and we are unable to comment further,” the bureau said.
“If you or someone you know has been subject to an unlawful activity, contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at (202) 326-1222,” it added.