The Government is
Placing Secret Devices On Consumer Computers to Read What You Type-Fiction!
Summary of the eRumor: The eRumor says it's from the
"Turner Radio Network" and claims that the author of the email
has caught the government and computer manufacturers installing
hard-wired keystroke loggers on new laptop computers.
The message includes pictures and descriptions of a device that was
found in a laptop.
The email claims that an inquiry to the police resulted in his being
referred to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
A call to them resulted in his being told to make a request under the
Freedom of Information Security Act. That resulted in a letter from
Homeland Security saying the information he requested did not have to be
revealed and he could appeal by writing to the Secretary of Homeland
Some versions of the eRumor say it is Dell that is selling the laptops
with loggers on them.
The Truth: TruthOrFiction.com is declaring this to be a hoax.
Most hoaxes of this nature have been quickly created with pictures and
other resources found on the Internet.
We did some searching and, surely enough, we found the original pictures
of both the scanned letter from Homeland Security and the pictures of
the alleged laptop keylogging device.
First, there is such a device as a
keylogger. It's a small piece of equipment that you can attach to
your computer keyboard that keeps track of every character you
type. Some people use them as a back-up so they can retrieve what
they've typed in case of a computer crash. Others have them on
their keyboards so they can tell whether someone else has been using
their computer and for what purpose. There are also companies that
have installed keyloggers on various corporate computers for purposes of
security. There are also more controversial uses for keyloggers
such as spying on other people and law enforcment is said to use them
One of the products that is sold to
the consumer is called KeyGhost and is made in New Zealand. There
is a small, visible version that you simply install between your
computer and your keyboard. There is also a version that looks so
much like a normal keyboard cable that you don't know that it's there.
There is also a version of KeyGhost that is installed inside of desktop
keyboards and is not visible. The information is actually stored
in the KeyGhost and you can download it later on any computer.
There is also a version that can send the keylogger information over the
Internet to a different location.
The pictures of the keylogger used in the eRumor were taken from an
article about keyloggers posted on the KeyGhost website at
The letter from Homeland Security used in the eRumor is a hoax.
You'll notice that the letter says it is regarding "File
Number 20050112-20050119." Those are the file numbers listed
on a scan of a letter from Homeland Security to Congresswoman Louise
Slaughter and it had nothing to do with keylogging. She was
requesting documents about White House security procedures and the
Secret Service. The creator of this hoax found a scan of that
letter on the Internet then doctored it with the alleged response about
being denied access to his files.
The reference to the "Turner Network" is because one of the
versions of the eRumor has been posted on the website of an Internet
radio talk show host on the Turner Network.
A real example of the eRumor as it has
appeared on the Internet:
Interesting - Govt. checks Your Computer
Subject: Pass on please
GOVERNMENT AND COMPUTER MANUFACTURERS CAUGHT INSTALLING
HARD-WIRED KEYSTROKE LOGGERS INTO ALL NEW LAPTOP COMPUTERS!
Turner Radio Network |
October 4, 2005
Devices capture everything
you ever type, then can send it via your ethernet card to the Dept. of
Homeland Security without your knowledge, consent or a search warrant
each time you log onto the internet!
Information Act Requests For Explanation From DHS, refused.
I was opening up my
almost brand new laptop, to replace a broken PCMCIA slot riser
on the motherboard. As soon as I got the keyboard off, I noticed
a small cable running from the keyboard connection underneath a
piece of metal protecting the motherboard.
I figured "No Big
Deal", and continued with the dissasembly. But when I got the metal
panels off, I saw a small white heatshink-wrapped package. Being
ever-curious, I sliced the heatshrink open. I found a little circuit
Being an EE by trade, this piqued my curiosity considerably. On one side
of the board, one AtmelAT45D041A
four megabit Flash memory chip.
Looking further, I
saw that the other end of the cable was connected to the
integrated ethernet board.
What could this mean? I called the manufacturer's tech support
about it, and they said, and I quote, "The intregrated
service tag identifier is there for assisting customers in the
event of lost or misplaced personal information." He then
A little more
research, and I found that that board spliced in between the
keyboard and the ethernet chip is little more than a Keyghosthardware keylogger.
reasons a computer manufacturer would put this in their laptops can only
be left up to your imagination. It would be very impractical to hand-anylze
the logs, and very CPU-intensive to do so on a computer for every person
that purchased a laptop. Why are these keyloggers here? I recently
almost found out.
I called the police, as having a keylogger unknown to me in my laptop is
a serious offense. They told me to call the Department of Homeland
Security. At this point, I am in disbelief. Why would the DHS have a
keylogger in my laptop? It was surreal.
So I called them, and they told me to submit a Freedom of Information
Act request. This is what I got back:
Under the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) the only items exempt from
public disclosure are items relating to "law enforcement tools and
techniques" and "items relating to national security."
The real life implications of this are plain: Computer manufacturers
appear to be cooperating with the Department of Homeland Security to
make every person who buys a new computer subject to immediate,
unrestricted government recording of everything they do on those
This information can be sent to DHS, online, without your knowledge or
consent, without a search warrant or even probable cause! That's why
this device is hard-wired directly into the ethernet card, which
communicates over the internet!
I am not certain how long this information will be permitted to remain
online for all the world to see before the government takes some type of
action to attempt to have it removed from public view. I URGE you to
take copy of this page immediately and spread this information to
everyone you know immediately! The more people who find out about this,
the more can protect themselves and raise a HUGE outcry to force
government and computer manufacturers to immediately CEASE installing
these devices in new computers!
No virus found in this incoming message.
Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
Version: 7.0.344 / Virus Database: 267.11.14/127 - Release Date: