Bryan Seely, a network engineer and a hacker, used fake Google Maps listing to secretly record Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Secret Services' telephone calls.
Seely says that the calls were placed by citizens to the FBI office in San Francisco and to the Secret Services office in Washington, D.C. Seely claims that he recorded the calls using Google Maps and neither the callers, nor the FBI or Secret Services personnel who answered the phone realized that their call was getting recorded.
"Who is gonna think twice about what Google publishes on their maps? Everyone trusts Google implicitly and it's completely unwarranted and it's completely unsafe. I could make a duplicate of the White House and take every inbound phone call from the White House. I could do it for every Senator, every Congressman, every mayor, every governor-every Democratic, every Republican candidate. Every office," Seely told Valleywag.
Seely says that he set up fake FBI and Secret Services telephone listings on Google Maps and Google Places. When callers called Seely's fake numbers he forwarded the call to the real office but he recorded the conversation using recording software.
Valleywag says that the FBI has not responded to its calls and e-mails; however, Secret Services spokesman Brian Leary sent a statement saying that the incident is being "investigated thoroughly and appropriately."
"The incident in question involves an individual posting their own phone number as a Secret Services field office phone number on Google Maps. When unsuspecting citizens utilize this incorrect third party phone number to contact the Secret Services the call is directed through the third party system and recorded. This is not a vulnerability or compromise of our phone system. Virtually any phone number that appears on a crowdsourcing platform could be manipulated in this way," reads the statement issued to Valleywag by the Secret Services.
Google Maps may have made it easy for customers to connect easily with local businesses. However, Seely's experiment with fake listings on Google Maps may get the online search giant to put more stringent security measures in place to avoid any serious hacking.