Items tagged with NSA

Security firm Cellebrite made headlines earlier this year when its services were employed by the FBI to help break into the phone of the San Bernardino shooter. Cellebrite recently invited a bunch of UK press to an event to show off what it's capable of.Equipped with an outdated smartphone, BBC reporter Rory Cellan-Jones went off for a half an hour, password-protected the device, and took pictures -- basically using the phone normally. You can see where this is going. Despite the password, Cellebrite plugged the phone into a bulky tablet, and after a few taps, the phone's security was disabled.... Read more...
We reported earlier this week on a large collection of exploits that have been put up for auction by a group that calls itself Shadow Brokers. The promise was that all of the files were sourced from a secret NSA group called Equation Group, and now, Edward Snowden has released documents to prove that's just the case. This confirmation comes from The Intercept, a website which ultimately came to be as a direct result of Snowden's leaks three summers ago. With this trove of software confirmed to be sourced from the NSA, it raises some big questions. When Shadow Brokers put its collection of exploits... Read more...
We wrote a couple of days ago about a huge treasure trove of alleged NSA-derived exploits that were hitting the market. That gold mine was accessed by a group calling itself Shadow Brokers, and it's been said that their source was Equation Group, which is believed to be an extension of the NSA. At that time, there was no proof that any of the exploits contained in the collection were still valid. Quickly, some noted that a few of the targets were already patched, leading the rest of us to believe that the entire collection came a bit too late. However, anyone who thought that might have to back... Read more...
A hacking group that calls itself Shadow Brokers claims to have stolen sophisticated surveillance tools previously used by a group of high-tech hackers with ties to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The group announced plans to auction off the tools, though security experts aren't sure if what they have is the real deal or if this is an elaborate hoax.In a post that's since been removed on Tumblr, the hacking group said it's in possession of cyber weapons made by the creators of Duqu, Flame, and Stuxnet and that this cache of tools is even more dangerous. Stuxnet is still considered one... Read more...
It looks as though the National Security Agency (NSA) crown jewels are about to be fondled by the rest of America’s intelligence agencies. The NSA monitors and collects various types of communications including emails, phone calls, and even transmissions conducted by our foreign allies (and foes). As we learned from the the Edward Snowden leaks, this information is stored in bulk and is one of the reasons for the ever-increasing use of encryption in our smartphones (see Apple vs FBI). Historically, the data collected has mainly been kept within the halls of the NSA and only offered to other intelligence... Read more...
If you're passionate about the topics of privacy, government surveillance, and security and also how they relate to the FBI and DOJ's fight to unlock that fateful San Bernardino iPhone, the whole situation likely pales in comparison to what communist countries like China force their citizens to tolerate. In an effort to root out threats to society, the Chinese Communist Party has contracted for development of a data analytics technology of sorts that is best described as taking a page straight out of the 2002 movie staring Tom Cruise called Minority Report. Credit: Flickr TadokoroAs Bloomberg reports,... Read more...
It's easier than ever to protect data online and elsewhere. Encryption is ubiquitous and while it's impossible to insure that your data well-secured from the likes of the government, there's no excuse for not taking important steps to increase your own personal protection as much as possible. That latter is especially true when you consider the fact that the FBI has a seemingly unlimited amount of resources to "counter the threat" of encryption. Humorously, many people who use encryption aim to "counter the threat" of the FBI or other government agencies. And according to the agency's 2017 budget... Read more...
If you think that the likes of the NSA needs to rely on zero-day exploits to get their job done, you apparently have things completely wrong. At the USENIX Enigma security conference in San Francisco this week, the NSA's chief of Tailored Access Operations, Rob Joyce said that it's his team's sheer talent makes its attacks successful, not simple flaws waiting to be exploited. While it does seem likely that the NSA makes use of zero-day exploits when the juicier ones are found, Joyce says that it's not as though his team simply has a "skeleton key" that's able to open any door it chooses. Instead,... Read more...
While many of us were seeking out the hottest deals this weekend, the US government carried out the greatest reduction of its spying efforts since they were expanded-upon following the attacks of Sept 11, 2001. Adhering to a law passed some six months ago, the National Security Agency is no long allowed to blindly pull down phone records of millions of Americans, a move that's being considered a major win by privacy advocates. Effective immediately, if the NSA wants to gather phone data on a target, it must get a court order and work with phone carriers to enable monitoring, and only for up to... Read more...
In the "vast majority of cases," when the U.S. government is made aware of a software vulnerability, it discloses that information to the vendor so that it can issue a patch to the public. What constitutes a "vast majority?" Nine times out of 10, or 91 percent of the time, according to the U.S. National Security Agency's own books. What about the other 9 percent of the time? The zero-day threats the NSA doesn't disclose are those that the vendors fixed before they were notified or, simply put, don't get disclosed in the interest of national security. "The National Security Council has an interagency... Read more...
Following the revelations from Edward Snowden that the U.S. has engaged in wide-scale surveillance programs that spy not only Americans, but also ally nations, many in the tech industry have called for even tougher software encryption to keep law enforcement and government agencies from overstepping their bounds with regards to citizens’ privacy. “Technologists have worked tirelessly to re-engineer the security of the devices that surround us, along with the language of the Internet itself,” said Snowden in a June op-ed for The New York Times. “Secret flaws in critical infrastructure that had been... Read more...
While the NSA had the support of all US telcos with its spying efforts, it's come to light that none offered the level of assistance that AT&T did. Recent documents that are part of the ongoing Snowden leaks show the NSA heaping a bit of praise on its relationship with AT&T, saying it was "highly collaborative" and that the company had an "extreme willingness to help." Beginning in 2003 and leading up to the time Edward Snowden blew the doors off the far-reaching spy efforts, AT&T gave the NSA access to an enormous amount of information through many methods under different legal rules.... Read more...
It's been a full two years since Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the massive spying efforts of the NSA, and despite the sheer amount of information and revelations that have come out since then, there still seems to be a lot more to come. The latest reveal involves the NSA running an intrusion detection system on the Internet's backbone, something it was granted permission for behind-the-scenes. It's reported that in 2012, the Justice Department wrote secret memos to grant the agency the ability to monitor addresses that exhibited security risk behavior. It's important to note that this permission... Read more...
Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the National Security Agency who leaked confidential documents and information to the press regarding the U.S. government's PRISM program, says he has never been "so wrong," and for that he's "grateful." Let's add some context, shall we? Snowden says he was wrong to worry that his efforts and the risk he and the journalists who broke the story over the NSA's bulk collection of phone records would have been for nothing, "that the public would react with indifference, or practiced cynicism, to the revelations." "Never have I been so grateful... Read more...
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