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Why the FBI Wants to Procure Malware

The FBI is headquartered in the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, DC.

The FBI is headquartered in the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, DC. // Orhan Cam/Shutterstock.com

The FBI seeks a commercial supplier of malicious software to supply the intelligence agency with a steady stream of 30 to 40 gigabytes per day of old variants and new, unique malware for research purposes.

According to a contract solicitation notice, the FBI seeks to ingest a variety of malware files through machine-to-machine communication, though it makes clear the feed “shall be pulled to the FBI, not pushed to the FBI,” ensuring the agency has control over when it takes in the infected files.

The FBI seeks malware in the form of executable file types from Windows, Macintosh and Unix/Linux, as well as a variety of others, like archive or image files, audio and visual files, PDF documents, JavaScript files and Microsoft Office documents. The FBI also desires a malicious uniform resource locator (URL) report that would contain a list of URLs that link not to executable files, but to exploits that cause malware to be downloaded.

This next-generation malware is much more sophisticated because it uses known software or hardware exploits to deceive a computer system without a user’s knowledge, wiggling its way into a system without the user having to point-and-click or open an actual file. In addition, the FBI wants each malware file to contain metadata: the time and both the SHA1 and MD5 signatures.

“The collection of malware from multiple industries, law enforcement and research sources is critical to the success of the FBIs mission to obtain global awareness of malware threat,” the FBO notice states. “The collection of this malware allows the FBI to provide actionable intelligence to the investigator in both criminal and intelligence matters.”

Commercial providers will bid on a one-year contract that carries the potential of four one-year options.

FCW first reported the solicitation. 

(Image via Orhan Cam/Shutterstock.com)

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