The FBI and a coalition of state and local law enforcement and intelligence agencies are planning to hack the computers of tech giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Google.
They are also planning to use malware to hack computers, according to a report from The Intercept.
The report suggests the FBI is preparing to target the computers owned by the big three companies, Google and Facebook, to conduct an investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The government has long been known to target private companies that provide critical infrastructure like electricity and water, though the FBI has been less explicit about its motivations.
This time, however, the agency is reportedly targeting the computers belonging to major tech firms, with the goal of disrupting their business models.
The agencies plan to target Google, Facebook, and Amazon in the near future, the Intercept reports.
The plans, which could be executed in the next few weeks, have the potential to seriously disrupt the companies’ operations, according a report by The Verge.
It could be used to expose their proprietary code, disrupt their networks, and disrupt their business operations.
The Intercept report describes a group of federal agents and intelligence analysts as part of a “team” of intelligence professionals that includes members of the FBI’s Counterintelligence and Cyber Division and its Joint Terrorism Task Force.
The teams aim to find out “what the Russian state has been doing in the US to help elect Donald Trump,” according to The Intercept, adding that the group also wants to find ways to “intercept the data of the company that Google and other major tech companies rely on to deliver its products and services.”
A few weeks ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company was “very aware” of the “significant risk” the agency posed.
But the agency has been more vocal in recent weeks about the potential for interference in its operations.
Last month, a report leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the agency was investigating “Russian efforts to undermine US democracy and undermine our ability to conduct national security operations.”
The report claimed that the Russians were planning to “sow discord” in the election.
In the wake of that report, Google announced that it would cease all advertising for the 2016 elections, which were to take place in the months following the election, because of concerns about Russian interference.
The tech companies have also been increasingly vocal about the threat posed by Russian hackers and propaganda, but they have been slow to share the evidence that they believe suggests they are the victims of foreign interference.
Earlier this month, Facebook and Google shared a list of 10 Russian-linked companies, including Russian state-owned Internet Service Providers, that they said were targeted by Russian intelligence.
The list also includes several tech giants, including Amazon, Microsoft, and Twitter, along with a few major corporations like eBay, Dell, and Microsoft.
At the time, Facebook said that it was concerned about the “Russian government’s attempts to influence our users’ choices, behaviors, and behaviors on social media, including targeting our political community and our advertisers.”
“As we continue to develop ways to prevent this type of attack, we need to keep our communities safe and secure.
This is why we have partnered with state and federal partners in Congress, with partners in the private sector, and with law enforcement, including the FBI, in a multi-agency effort to identify and disrupt these efforts,” Facebook wrote.
Google said that its “Russian-specific targeting has been a part of our efforts to identify, understand, and stop malicious actors who are trying to undermine our platform and undermine democratic processes.”
“While our data is collected globally, we work closely with our partner agencies to make sure that we share that information with them, and we’ve also worked closely with the US government and our foreign partners to build an overall picture of the types of data being collected and the ways that we are able to protect our data,” the company said.
“We have been actively working with our Russian partners to share more information and insights on these activities.”
Earlier this week, a Russian government official said that Moscow has “no intention of engaging in any interference in US elections,” and that the U.S. has “an interest in protecting its interests.”
But the government has not explicitly confirmed the report, saying only that it “has information that indicates this activity may have been conducted.”