The latest revelations of NSA spying accredited to Edward Snowden show that the spy agency is potentially breaking into millions of computers worldwide to infect them with malware ‘implants” by using automated systems that take oversight out of human hands
Eyes Open Report
To initiate the automated data collection the NSA will pose as a Facebook Server.
The Intercept Reports:
In some cases the NSA has masqueraded as a fake Facebook server, using the social media site as a launching pad to infect a target’s computer and exfiltrate files from a hard drive. In others, it has sent out spam emails laced with the malware, which can be tailored to covertly record audio from a computer’s microphone and take snapshots with its webcam. The hacking systems have also enabled the NSA to launch cyber attacks by corrupting and disrupting file downloads or denying access to websites.
The documents obtained from whistle-blower Edward Snowden by The Intercept show that the implants were once reserved for only a few hundred hard-to-reach targets, but the NSA has since aggressively expanded the hacking initiative over the past decade by automating the process.
Malware expert and chief research officer at the security firm F-Secure, Mikko Hypponen described the NSA spying methods as “disturbing.”
“When they deploy malware on systems they potentially create new vulnerabilities in these systems, making them more vulnerable for attacks by third parties,” Hypponen told The Intercept.
The NSA has declined to comment on the revelations pointing to a new presidential policy directive publicized by President Obama that allows spy agencies to collect information “exclusively where there is a foreign intelligence or counterintelligence purpose to support national and departmental missions, and not for any other purposes.”
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)