Security Companies Will Prevent the UK Police from Hacking, Even Legally
Article by George Norman
On 06 Jan 2009
The internet is alight over the news that the British Home Office, following a decision made by the EU Council of Ministers, Brussels, has adopted a new “remote searching” policy which basically allows the police to hack into your computer without getting a warrant first. To put it simply, the British police or MI5 could at any time snoop into your email messages, browsing habits, IM chats, and any other piece of info you have stored on your machine.

“Under the Brussels edict, police across the EU have been given the green light to expand the implementation of a rarely used power involving warrantless intrusive surveillance of private property. The strategy will allow French, German and other EU forces to ask British officers to hack into someone’s UK computer and pass over any material gleaned. A remote search can be granted if a senior officer says he “believes” that it is “proportionate” and necessary to prevent or detect serious crime — defined as any offence attracting a jail sentence of more than three years,” says Times Online.


It goes without saying that human and civil rights groups are appalled by the perspective of this legal hacking. The thing is though that if the police or any other agency wants to covertly access the data stored onto your machine, they have to employ the same methods as the hackers, and this is where security software comes in. According to Graham Cluley from Sophos Security, company that specializes in providing security software solutions, the aforementioned company will detect any online threats and will add detection for them – this includes malware or spyware employed by the police.

“For anti-virus vendors to know which spyware Trojan horse to ignore, the British police would need to provide us with a sample of their code. For security reasons, it seems unlikely that this would happen. As a result, how will we (and other security vendors) know which code is written by the cops and which originates from traditional hackers? After all, it’s not likely to say Copyright (c) New Scotland Yard is it? In order to properly protect customers, Sophos continues to protect against all the malicious code that we see,” says Graham Cluley.

Tags: Hacking, Sophos, UK Police, MI5
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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Security Companies Will Prevent the UK Police from Hacking, Even Legally
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