I think I have watched too many Hollywood movies to be surprised by any of the devices in the NSAs catalogue. They are impressive from a technical perspective though.
- NSA can hack WiFi devices from eight miles away « Engadget
... the NSA's big box of tools includes Nightstand, a custom device that can compromise WiFi networks for the sake of inserting spy software. The Linux-powered device can exploit Windows systems from up to eight miles away; it's unlikely that you'll catch agents wardriving in the parking lot. Nightstand may not see significant use today given that it dates back to 2008, but its existence suggests that the NSA also has newer, more advanced WiFi surveillance gear at its disposal.
- NSA can reportedly bug computer equipment before it reaches buyers « Engadget
The leak suggests that the targeted manufacturers aren't aware of what's happening; Cisco and other firms tell Spiegel they don't coordinate with the NSA. These hardware interceptions are also limited in scope next to remote surveillance programs. The agency isn't confirming any specifics, but it maintains that TAO is focused on exploiting foreign networks. Whether or not that's true, the discoveries show that the NSA's surveillance can reach the deepest levels of many networks.
- Report: NSA Intercepting Laptops Ordered Online, Installing Spyware « Forbes
The latest report, this time via Der Spiegel and based on internal NSA documents, reveals that the NSA, in conjunction with the CIA and FBI, has begun intercepting laptops purchased online in order to install (quite literal) spyware and even hardware on the machines. The NSA terms this “interdiction.” Agents divert shipments to secret warehouses, carefully open the packages, install the software and/or hardware, and send them on their way.
- Inside TAO: Documents Reveal Top NSA Hacking Unit « Spiegel
Once TAO teams have gathered sufficient data on their targets' habits, they can shift into attack mode, programming the QUANTUM systems to perform this work in a largely automated way. If a data packet featuring the email address or cookie of a target passes through a cable or router monitored by the NSA, the system sounds the alarm. It determines what website the target person is trying to access and then activates one of the intelligence service's covert servers, known by the codename FOXACID.
This NSA server coerces the user into connecting to NSA covert systems rather than the intended sites. In the case of Belgacom engineers, instead of reaching the LinkedIn page they were actually trying to visit, they were also directed to FOXACID servers housed on NSA networks. Undetected by the user, the manipulated page transferred malware already custom tailored to match security holes on the target person's computer.
I find this both highly exciting and impressive and utterly terrifying.
I watched the keynote and do agree with him on a certain point: how many terrorists ACTUALLY use Solaris? Scary the out comings of what was released, not surprised, but scared that this type of technology is in active use by none other than the government.
Seems if you ever needed an excuse to move away from Yahoo!, this is a better reason than any.
The following sounds very sci-fi.
Your USB cable, the spy: Inside the NSA’s catalog of surveillance magic « Ars Technica
NSA’s ANT Division Catalog of Exploits for Nearly Every Major Software/Hardware/Firmware « Leak SourceThe NSA also uses some fairly exotic tools to grab computer video, keyboard strokes, and even audio from inside more difficult-to-reach places by using passive electronic devices that are actually powered by radar. These devices, charged by a specially tuned continuous wave radio signal sent from a portable radar unit (operating at as little as 2W up to as much as 1kW of power in the 1-2GHz range), send back a data stream as a reflected signal, allowing the NSA’s operators to tune in and view what’s happening on a computer screen or even listen to what’s being said in the room as they paint the target with radio frequency energy—as well as giving a relative rough location of devices within a building for the purposes of tracking or targeting.
Some of the equipment available is quite inexpensive. A rigged monitor cable that allows “TAO personnel to see what is displayed on the targeted monitor,” for example, is available for just $30. But an “active GSM base station” — a tool that makes it possible to mimic a mobile phone tower and thus monitor cell phones — costs a full $40,000. Computer bugging devices disguised as normal USB plugs, capable of sending and receiving data via radio undetected, are available in packs of 50 for over $1 million.
I wonder if the NSA can do this?
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