Items tagged with NSA

Geopolitical borders have softened in various ways thanks to the prevalence of the Internet. An email sent by an American could cross multiple international borders before being received by another American. A recent study by the Century Foundation revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) reportedly utilizes various “traffic shaping” techniques to survey and store American communications. Internet traffic does not travel along the shortest route, but instead favors the fastest, least congested, or least expensive course. Data from various countries is backed up in data centers around the... Read more...
Have the most recent Microsoft exploits been keeping you up at night? Microsoft recently remarked that almost all of the exploits have already been patched, while the remaining ones can not reproduced on supported platforms. On Friday, a hacking group referred to as the “Shadow Brokers” revealed a number of programs that could potentially be used to attack different versions of Windows operating systems. Microsoft maintains that the vast majority of these exploits have already been patched. “ETERNALCHAMPION”, a SMBv1 exploit, was patched by Windows updates CVE-2017-0146 & CVE-2017-0147. EnglishmanDentist”,... Read more...
What do you collect? Rare stamps? Falcons fans’ tears? How about classified national defense documents? Former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Harold Thomas Martin III was recently indicted by a federal grand jury on the charge that he purposely collected classified information regarding national defense. He faces twenty criminal accounts, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Rod J. Rosenstein, the United States attorney for Maryland, remarked, “The indictment alleges that for as long as two decades, Harold Martin flagrantly abused the trust placed in him by the government by... Read more...
President Obama appears to be making the most out of his last few days in office. The Obama administration has just issued Executive Order 12333. The order will make it easier for the various intelligence agencies to access and share personal information about American citizens and people currently located in the United States. Executive Order 12333 allows intelligence agencies, specifically the NSA, to “disseminate information to other appropriate IC (Intelligence Communities) elements for purposes of allowing the recipient element to determine whether the information is relevant to its responsibilities... Read more...
"Yahoo" is a positive word, but in relation to the internet giant, it's starting to feel like it could describe some of the company's key management. Yahoo has been dealing with some troubling issues, but most of those issues were self-created, such as failing to disclose a security breach which took place years ago, and building a custom tool for the U.S. government - and the NSA in particular - to scan user emails. Now, it's being reported that Yahoo's tool is in effect a sophisticated "hacking tool", although it's supposedly not that much different from Yahoo's preexisting tools used to... Read more...
It's come to light that a former contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA) was arrested back in August by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The agency suspects the contractor might have stolen and disclosed classified computer code developed by the NSA to hack into networks of governments around the world. And no, his name is not Edward Snowden, though he comes from the same consulting firm (Booz Allen Hamilton). The former contractor's name is Harold T. Martin III, a 51-year-old out of Glen Burnie, Maryland. He had already left the NSA and was working as a contractor for the Defense... Read more...
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...
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