FBI fingerprint software could be bugged by Russians: Sources

Press TV – The software the FBI and 18,000 other US law enforcement agencies use to analyze fingerprints may contain a Russian code placed by a French company after a secret deal with a Russian firm, two whistleblowers say.

The former employees of a subsidiary of the French firm Safran Group said the company secretly purchased code from the Russian cybersecurity company Papillon Systems and then included it in fingerprint analysis software it later sold to the FBI, BuzzFeed News reported Tuesday.

The Russian company is said to be regularly working with Russian law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Security Service (FSB).

According to Philippe Desbois, the Safran subsidiary’s former CEO of Russia operations, officials in Safran Group have been worried that the FBI may learn the truth.

This AFP file photo taken on June 25, 2017 shows the logo of French aerospace giant Safran.

“They told me, ‘We will have big problems if the FBI is aware about the origin of the algorithm,’” said Desbois, who has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Safran. “It was always the intonation like we have done something bad that is a secret between us and that we should not repeat it to anybody,”

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation responded to the new allegations via a statement, reading: “As is typical for all commercial software that we operate, appropriate security reviews were completed prior to operational deployment.”

In September, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) banned the use of software produced by Russian firm Kaspersky Lab in federal agencies and departments, arguing it would pose a threat against the US national security.