The FBI and over 18,000 other law enforcement agencies in the United States use a software for analyzing fingerprints that may have Russian code, according to a new report. A subsidiary of the French company Safran Group reportedly purchased the code secretly from Russian cybersecurity firm Papillon Systems. This code was then included in the fingerprint analysis software that the Safran Group subsidiary sold to the FBI back in 2011.
Buzzfeed News reports that the Russian firm has close ties to the Kremlin. The allegations that the software might have Russian code have raised concerns that hackers connected to the state could gain backdoor access to sensitive biometric information on countless U.S. citizens.
Two whistleblowers who are former employees of the French company told the scribe that the code was purchased from the Russian firm as part of a secret deal. They also add that this fact was deliberately hidden from the FBI when the deal was made to supply it with the fingerprint analysis software.
The danger of using the Russian-made code can’t be ascertained without actually examining the code but experts believe that the firm’s connections to Russia’s Federal Security Service intelligence agency are a cause for concern.
The FBI is yet to issue a detailed response to this report. In a statement provided to the scribe, it said that “As is typical for all commercial software that we operate, appropriate security reviews were completed prior to operational deployment.”
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