Security Market Segment LS
Saturday, 10 February 2018 06:10

Tech site seeks probe into London cops' malware purchase Featured


The tech website Motherboard has asked London's Metropolitan Police Service and an independent government organisation to institute a probe into why an MPS officer bought malware that can intercept messages on Facebook, steal passwords and operate a smartphone camera remotely.

The website said thus far the MPS had refused to investigate the matter, leaving open the question of the exact reason for purchase of the malware.

The legal firm Bindmans filed the formal complaint with the Independent Office for Police Conduct, on behalf of the site.

Journalist Joseph Cox wrote that the site had reported about the purchase of the malware, known as FlexiSpy, in April 2017, after it had been provided the information by a hacker, adding that depending on the version, the malware could be installed on a desktop device, Android devices or rooted iOS devices.

FlexiSpy claims to be "the world's most powerful monitoring software for computers, mobile phones and tablets".

Cox said that within the FlexiSpy customer records there was the official email address for an MPS officer. It was not immediately evident to whom the email address belonged as several shared similar names. But a clue was offered when, soon after the report, one MPS officer, from the group's High Tech Crime Unit, changed the privacy settings on his LinkedIn Account.

He quoted Eric King, a visiting surveillance law lecturer at London's Queen Mary University, as saying in the April 2017 report: "The use of the tool in most circumstances would breach the Computer Misuse Act 1990, and even the sale of the tool could be a criminal offence if it’s known its subsequent use would be unlawful.”

Cox said a letter from the MPS' Directorate of Professional Standards had stated in December that it had come to the conclusion that the complaint did not need to be professionally recorded. This meant there would be no probe.

Motherboard was not deemed to be a member of the public who had witnessed any misconduct, the letter said, regarding its reasons for there being no probe. Cox said an appeal had been filed, seeking an urgent investigation.

"We don’t know why a Metropolitan Police officer, likely from the force’s hi-tech crime unit, purchased FlexiSpy. Did the officer deploy it in an investigation? Was its use proportionate and appropriate for the type of crime being investigated?" he wrote.

"Or, more worryingly, was the malware for personal, illegal use to monitor their spouse, as FlexiSpy’s marketing at the time made heavy reference to? It’s also possible the officer purchased FlexiSpy simply to better understand how the software worked."

As part of the Snoopers Charter, the new surveillance law that was passed, the British police received formal permission to use software like the malware in question and other hacking devices.

Read 2828 times

Please join our community here and become a VIP.

Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here
JOIN our iTWireTV our YouTube Community here


The past year has seen a meteoric rise in ransomware incidents worldwide.

Over the past 12 months, SonicWall Capture Labs threat researchers have diligently tracked the meteoric rise in cyberattacks, as well as trends and activity across all threat vectors, including:

Encrypted threats
IoT malware
Zero-day attacks and more

These exclusive findings are now available via the 2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report, which ensures SMBs, government agencies, enterprises and other organizations have the actionable threat intelligence needed to combat the rising tide of cybercrime.

Click the button below to get the report.



It's all about Webinars.

Marketing budgets are now focused on Webinars combined with Lead Generation.

If you wish to promote a Webinar we recommend at least a 3 to 4 week campaign prior to your event.

The iTWire campaign will include extensive adverts on our News Site and prominent Newsletter promotion and Promotional News & Editorial. Plus a video interview of the key speaker on iTWire TV which will be used in Promotional Posts on the iTWire Home Page.

Now we are coming out of Lockdown iTWire will be focussed to assisting with your webinars and campaigns and assistance via part payments and extended terms, a Webinar Business Booster Pack and other supportive programs. We can also create your adverts and written content plus coordinate your video interview.

We look forward to discussing your campaign goals with you. Please click the button below.


Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous




Guest Opinion

Guest Interviews

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News