NIT – Network Investigative Technique

A network investigative technique, or NIT, is a drive-by download computer program designed to provide access to a computer in order to obtain information about the system or data contained on that computer.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been using network investigative techniques since at least 2002 in cases that include computer hacking, child porn, bomb threats, extortion, terrorism and more.

Cyber SecurityThe information obtained by an NIT can range from simply a computer’s name and address at the most basic level to complete files, web history, webcam activity and more.

Network investigative technique tools have gained recent attention as the FBI has started to use NITs in going after cyber hackers that rely on the open-source Tor software to help them surf the web anonymously.

Network Investigative Technique Tools Under Scrutiny

Government NIT tools have also come under scrutiny as their usage has increased as a result of their potential for privacy abuse and infringement upon the Fourth Amendment, and also because they function as a form of malware that enables unauthorized access to a user’s computer.

At the same time, government agencies have sought to expand their ability to use network investigative techniques beyond the current scope, wherein a judge can only issue an NIT warrant for surveillance of computers within a judge’s jurisdiction.

Rule 41 Could Expand the Power and Use of Network Investigative Techniques

These efforts have led to the U.S. Supreme Court amending a procedural rule known as Rule 41 that would allow judges to issue warrants for the government to use network investigative techniques to hack computers anywhere, including when users rely on the anonymizing Tor network to keep the physical location of their computer hidden.

Rule 41 is on track to go into effect on December 1st, 2016, unless the U.S. Congress reverses the rule changes in legislative action prior to that date.

Forrest Stroud
Forrest is an experienced, entrepreneurial and well-rounded professional with 15+ years covering technology, business software, website design, programming and more.

Top Articles

The Complete List of 1500+ Common Text Abbreviations & Acronyms

Text Abbreviations reviewed by Web Webster   From A3 to ZZZ we list 1,559 SMS, online chat, and text abbreviations to help you translate and understand...

Windows Operating System History & Versions

The Windows operating system (Windows OS) refers to a family of operating systems developed by Microsoft Corporation. We look at the history of Windows...

How to Create a Website Shortcut on Your Desktop

Website Shortcut on Your Desktop reviewed by Web Webster   This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a website shortcut on your desktop using...

Generations of Computers (1st to 5th)

Reviewed by Web Webster Learn about each of the 5 generations of computers and major technology developments that have led to the computing devices that...

How to Find Your...

SSID is short for Service Set IDentifier. In layman’s terms, an...

Monday.com

Monday.com is a cloud-based work operating system that can be used for a...

Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol...

The secure socket tunneling protocol (SSTP) is a VPN protocol where...