Suspected Russian Spy Used Palm VII

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Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
Category: Archive


The Standard’s Media Grok reports that suspected spy Robert Hanssen used a Palm VII to pass secrets to his Russian handlers.

The beautiful thing about the new economy is that you don’t have to have just one job description. Robert Hanssen has this technique covered: he’s an FBI agent, an alleged spy and – get this – a computer geek. While most outlets focused their coverage on general updates about the FBI veteran accused of selling secrets to the Russians, several took a look at the tech implications of an operative who has, as only the Register would put it, “mad C skillz.”

According to a widely quoted affidavit filed by the FBI, Hanssen used encrypted disks, flash memory cards and even a Palm Pilot to pass secrets to his Russian handlers. He could also program in C and Pascal, according to the Washington Post, which added that the “technologically sophisticated” Hanssen created a system to automate the teletype at the FBI’s Washington offices. And to add to his techie bona fides, USA Today reported that Hanssen hacked into the computer of the FBI’s top Russian counterintelligence officer in the early 1990s. At the time, Hanssen said he did it to show how vulnerable the system was. (Yeah, and we’re really “working at home” after we scoot out of the office at two this afternoon.)

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