For some years, German courts have allowed the police to deploy a Trojan known colloquially as "Bundestrojaner" ("Federal Trojan") to record Skype conversations, if they have legal permission for a wiretap.
A CCC spokesperson expressed the group's concern at the discovery:-
"This refutes the claim that an effective separation of just wiretapping internet telephony and a full-blown trojan is possible in practice – or even desired. Our analysis revealed once again that law enforcement agencies will overstep their authority if not watched carefully. In this case functions clearly intended for breaking the law were implemented in this malware: they were meant for uploading and executing arbitrary code on the targeted system."
But the CCC's claim is controversial, as the Trojan they have uncovered has more snooping capabilities than that. For instance, it includes functionality to download updates from the internet, to run code remotely and even to allow remote access to the computer - something specifically in violation of Germany's laws.
- The Trojan can eavesdrop on several communication applications - including Skype, MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger.
- The Trojan can log keystrokes in Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer and SeaMonkey.
- The Trojan can take JPEG screenshots of what appears on users' screens and record Skype audio calls.
- The Trojan attempts to communicate with a remote website.
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