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How DOJ Took the Malware Fight into Your Computer

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One digital privacy advocate said malware removals required close judicial scrutiny, but acknowledged that there was often good reason for them.

Credit: Jenny Kane/AP

With botnets or armies of hacked computers posing significant threats to Internet security, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) increasingly is being allowed to delete malware from Americans' computers without their knowledge or authorization.

In April, for example, federal prosecutors obtained court orders permitting them to access hacked servers used to control a Russian intelligence agency's botnet and erase the malware they found there.

The prosecutors had indicated that direct intervention was necessary, given that government warnings to affected users did not solve the problems.

However, DOJ officials said such action is considered a last resort.

Said deputy assistant attorney general for national security Adam Hickey, “You can understand why we should be appropriately cautious before we touch any private computer system, much less the system of an innocent third party.”

From Politico
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