The US National Security Agency placed malicious software on more than 50,000 computer networks around the world, says a report based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
A new slide culled from the trove of documents leaked by Edward Snowden shows where the NSA placed malware on more than 50,000 computer networks worldwide, according to Dutch media outlet NRC.
The NSA management presentation slide from 2012 shows a world map spiderwebbed with “Computer Network Exploitation” access points.
Like all the NSA slides we’ve seen so far, this one is unlikely to win a Powerpoint beauty pageant anytime soon.
Not that this should distract anyone from the profoundly disturbing implications of this US government malware map that’s being reported by a Dutch news agency — an outlet to which the US government gave a “no comment.”
Translated from Dutch:
The American intelligence service — NSA — infected more than 50,000 computer networks worldwide with malicious software designed to steal sensitive information.
Documents provided by former NSA employee Edward Snowden and seen by this newspaper, prove this.
(…) The NSA declined to comment and referred to the US Government. A government spokesperson states that any disclosure of classified material is harmful to our national security.
An NSA Web page that outlines the agency’s Computer Network Operations program describes Computer Network Exploitation, or CNE, as a key part of the program’s mission and says CNE “includes enabling actions and intelligence collection via computer networks that exploit data gathered from target or enemy information systems or networks.”
In late August, The Washington Post reported on the NSA’s “hacking unit” called Tailored Access Operations (TAO).
The Post wrote:
According to a profile by Matthew M. Aid for Foreign Policy, it’s a highly secret but incredibly important NSA program that collects intelligence about foreign targets by hacking into their computers, stealing data, and monitoring communications.
(…) Dean Schyvincht, who claims to currently be a TAO Senior Computer Network Operator in Texas, might reveal the most about the scope of TAO activities.
He says the 14 personnel under his management have completed “over 54,000 Global Network Exploitation (GNE) operations in support of national intelligence agency requirements.”
This is one letter away from being exact.
On the NSA’s network ops page, there is no program with the acronym GNE — only CNE and,
Computer Network Attack (CNA): Includes actions taken via computer networks to disrupt, deny, degrade, or destroy the information within computers and computer networks and/or the computers/networks themselves.
Computer Network Defense (CND): Includes actions taken via computer networks to protect, monitor, analyze, detect, and respond to network attacks, intrusions, disruptions, or other unauthorized actions that would compromise or cripple defense information.
Across the newly published slide top and bottom a stripe reads, “REL TO USA, AUS, CAN, GBR, NZL.”
These are the so-called Five Eyes nations — the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand — that share intelligence.
Last week, the very same Five Eyes nations moved to oppose the United Nations’ anti-surveillance, right-to-privacy draft resolution called “The Right to Privacy in the Digital Age.”
Security researchers online are speculating that telecoms were the most likely targets for the malware.
They may not be too far off the mark.
NRC cites an example of Britain’s NSA counterpart, GCHQ, being found to use spoofed LinkedIn pages to install surveillance malware on target computers in Belgium telecom, Belgacom (translated):
One example of this type of hacking was discovered in September 2013 at the Belgium telecom provider Belgacom.
For a number of years the British intelligence service — GCHQ — has been installing this malicious software in the Belgacom network in order to tap their customer’s telephone and data traffic.
The Belgacom network was infiltrated by GCHQ through a process of luring employees to a false Linkedin page.
NRC concludes its article by telling us that the Dutch government’s intelligence service has its own hacking unit, but that it’s prohibited by law from engaging in the type of operations that the CNE slide suggests the NSA carried out.
Original Post found here: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57613550-38/nsa-slapped-malware-on-50000-networks-says-report/
What’s More Important: Security or Freedom?
So National Security Agency Director Keith B. Alexander, who, along with his boss, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., thinks that “if you can collect it, you should collect it,” now is asking whether it might not be such a good idea in the case of spying on the citizens of US allies like Germany, France, Spain et al.
“What’s more important,” the chief spook reportedly asked, following revelations by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden that the NSA has been spying on the electronic communications and phone conversations of millions of people in European other countries around the world. “Partnering with countries may be more important than collecting on them.”
This unusual moment of reflection came before the later disclosure that the Alexander’s super spying outfit was also tapping the cell phones of the leaders of America’s major allies, including France and Germany, not to mention Brazil.
Caught with his electronic pants down, Alexander, who is also a four-star active-duty general, is suddenly acknowledging that spying might have a downside.
In this case, the downside he is acknowledging is a diplomatic one: if you spy on the people — and the leaders — of a friendly state, violating a basic trust that had been taken for granted, you risk losing that trust and losing a long-time friend. Alliances can founder over such abuses of trust.
What Alexander and his truth-challenged boss Clapper are not considering, though, is whether there is also a bigger question: Isn’t maintaining democratic freedoms and the trust of the American people more important than collecting every possible datum of information about them, and monitoring their every move and every communication?”
The answer, of course, is obvious, which is why Alexander and Clapper are not asking it.
People in Europe are growing increasingly incensed that the US is “hoovering up” their communications, storing them, and picking through them with mega computers that hunt for key words. But people in the US are growing increasingly angry that the NSA is doing the same thing here at home.
And just as this outrageous international electronic eavesdropping is destroying America’s image abroad and threatening long-held alliances, it is destroying American democracy, and public faith in the Bill of Rights, right here at home.
Not that Alexander and Clapper care. They don’t answer to the American people. They work for the US government, and the government these days — the president, the Congress and the Supreme Court — is clearly not “of, by and for” the people. It is of, by and for the corporations and the elite, and that oligarchic power elite, having stolen the country blind over the past several decades, is getting worried that the public is starting to wake up to, and grow restive about it.
The ruling elite wants an all-seeing NSA to keep the public in check, and to enable it to spot, and then to crush, any outbreak of rebellion, as was done so effectively to the Occupy Movement in the autumn of 2011.
It’s probably fair to say that the crushing of Occupy was the first battle of the second American revolution. Looking back someday, it will also probably be recognized as the trial run of the NSA security net.
We can’t expect much from Congress at this point. These are the same pathetic and fearful “representatives of the people” who gave a shameless standing ovation recently to the Secret Service and Capitol Police thugs who “protected them” by gunning down an unarmed and mentally disturbed young mother who had panicked, driving her car erratically in the vicinity of the White House and the Capitol building.
The people of New York City just told New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg what they thought of his paramilitary NYPD response to the Occupy Movement and his years of coddling the wealthy in that pre-eminent American metropolis, replacing him with a progressive new mayor, Bill de Blasio, who has vowed to attack the city’s huge income divide, starting with a surtax on incomes of $500,000 or more to help pay for cancelled public kindergarden programs, and who has said he wants to put a stop to the police department’s widely loathed stop-and-frisk program, which has effectively criminalized a whole generation of young blacks and latinos.
The rest of the country may be just behind New Yorkers.
A good start would be demanding the sacking of Alexander and Clapper, two men whose fascistic policies and philosophies are antithetical to freedom and democracy. That should be followed by a national campaign to oust any and all politicians who do not stand four-square for a robust defense of all the articles of the Bill of Rights.
Gen. Alexander may not be asking, “What’s more important: defending freedom or collecting information on all the nation’s citizens?” but the American people already know the answer.
It has to be defending freedom.
- How Evil Can the CIA and NSA Get? How to Restrain US Intelligence Agencies (opednews.com)
- NSA Tracked US Cell Phone Locations For Two Years, Senator Says More Is Still Secret (eff.org)
- Why Should Americans Believe Spy Chiefs Clapper and Alexander Now? Fire Them. (reason.com)
- Collect it all: America’s Surveillance State (backcountryvoices.wordpress.com)
Foiled plots and bathtub falls
Original Post here: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2013/06/cost-benefit-analysis-and-state-secrecy
P.S. Seeing as how the NSA searches through popular cloud services such as Google, iCloud, etc. why not switch to a cloud provider that is under the radar? Just click the banner at the top-right and give the middle finger to those trying to watch you
- Time to thank Edward Snowden (rinf.com)
- Boston proved that NSA spying is not about terrorism – Anonymous (voiceofrussia.com)
- The Guardian-Edward Snowden Case: Guess Who Believes in Surveillance? (americanthinker.com)