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Across the world, people who work as system administrators keep computer networks in order – and this has turned them into unwitting targets of the National SecurityAgency for simply doing their jobs. According to a secret document provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the agency tracks down the private email and Facebook accounts of system administrators (or sys admins, as they are often called), before hacking their computers to gain access to the networks they control.
The document consists of several posts – one of them is titled “I hunt sys admins” – that were published in 2012 on an internal discussion board hosted on the agency’s classified servers. They were written by an NSA official involved in the agency’s effort to break into foreign network routers, the devices that connect computer networks and transport data across the Internet.
Author Archive | ElevatedChimp
Not so fun anymore when someone’s tapping your phone calls, is it?
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In a conversation leaked online and posted to YouTube on Feb. 4, voices closely resembling those of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland discuss loosely the roles of Ukrainian opposition leaders and the United Nations, and frustration over inaction and indecision by the European Union in solving Ukraine’s political crisis.
The woman, who sounds like Nuland, can be heard on the recording saying “fuck the EU,” while the man, who sounds like Pyatt, refers to Vitali Klitschko as the “top dog” among opposition leaders but implies that Klitschko is too inexperienced to hold a top government post.
The Kyiv Post cannot verify the authenticity of the conversation. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv had no comment today, but said that Nuland might address the issue during a press conference in Kyiv on Feb.
In an odd twist of events an Ohio man was arrested after a traffic stop on New Year’s Day which lead an officer to uncover a slew of bombs, IED’s, a remote detonator, and an AR-15 rifle.
Andrew Scott Boguslawski, 43, of Moores Hill, Indiana was stopped by Trooper W. Scott Davis on westbound I-70 on January 1st, 2014 for speeding, Trooper Davis asked Boguslawksi if he had any weapons in the car to which Boguslawski replied “No.” at that time Trooper Davis noticed a small caliber pistol tucked between Boguslawski’s legs. Further investigation uncovered 58 small improvised initiators, 25 IED’s, a medicine bottle weighing 1.5 lb’s containing explosive materials, four incomplete improvised bombs, a remote detonator, and several loaded guns including an AR-15 rifle. Also in his possession were schematics for Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in which he was employed as a groundskeeper.
Boguslawski was trained as an Intelligence Analyst Specialist in the Army National Guard and held a Top Secret Clearance.… Read the rest
Is the NSA manipulating the financial system? It certainly appears that it could.
Matt Blaze has been pointing out that when you read the new White House intelligence task force report and its recommendations on how to reform the NSA and the wider intelligence community, that there may be hints to other excesses not yet revealed by the Snowden documents. Trevor Timm may have spotted a big one. In the recommendation concerning increasing security in online communications, the second sub-point sticks out like a sore thumb.
If you can’t read that, it says: Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts or otherwise manipulate the financial system.
“Shall we play a game?”
The U.S. Department of Defense may have found a new way to scan millions of lines of software code for vulnerabilities, by turning the practice into a set of video games and puzzles and having volunteers do the work.
Having gamers identify potentially problematic chunks of code could help lower the work load of trained vulnerability analysts by “an order of magnitude or more,” said John Murray, a program director in SRI International’s computer science laboratory who helped create one of the games, called Xylem.
The National Security Agency is having a very bad day: two of the most ardent surveillance hawks have officially turned against the spying agency. California Senator Dianne Feinstein broke ranks and came out against the NSA spying on foreign leaders. Even worse, the author of the Patriot Act, Jim Sensenbrenner, dropped a co-authored bill to end bulk collection of Internet and telephone data.
“We’re really screwed now,” one NSA official told Foreign Policy’s The Cable. “You know things are bad when the few friends you’ve got disappear without a trace in the dead of night and leave no forwarding address.”
In a bid to make your stomach grumble and your head hurt even more, this latest tidbit of NSA news leaked by Edward Snowden and obtained by Bruce Schneier rocks the world of privacy enthusiasts world over.
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The online anonymity network Tor is a high-priority target for the National Security Agency. The work of attacking Tor is done by the NSA‘s application vulnerabilities branch, which is part of the systems intelligence directorate, or SID. The majority of NSA employees work in SID, which is tasked with collecting data from communications systems around the world.
According to a top-secret NSA presentation provided by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, one successful technique the NSA has developed involves exploiting the Tor browser bundle, a collection of programs designed to make it easy for people to install and use the software. The trick identified Tor users on the internet and then executes an attack against their Firefox web browser.