Feeds

Getting documents all too easy for Snowden

NSA seems to have had rubbish security behind the firewall

Security for virtualized datacentres

Yet more evidence has emerged that the NSA, which has made much of its apparently god-like power to stroll into anybody's network, read anybody's data, and find any target it wants, is a neophyte when it comes to its own information security.

If a report published in the New York Times is correct, all Edward Snowden did to create his library of thousands of classified documents was run wget in recursive mode, and let it grab whatever documents were visible from his machine.

Incredibly, in spite of network security advice that's existed since the 1990s about using firewalls for internal segmentation (rather than merely as perimeter protection), visibility from Snowden – at the time an employee of an external contractor – was enough that something like “wget -O -r” (he could alternatively used curl) delivered to his machine the vast cache of files now being drip-fed to the media.

Quoting a “senior intelligence official” the NYT says “'We do not believe this was an individual sitting at a machine and downloading this much material in sequence,' the official said. The process, he added, was 'quite automated.'”

“Intelligence officials told a House hearing last week that he accessed roughly 1.7 million files,” the NYT notes.

Even better: it's already known that then-PFC Bradley Manning had also used wget to collect documents.

Snowden also seems to have demonstrated that the NSA's protection against social engineering is also rudimentary, since he was able to explain his actions on such excuses as his role as a network administrator required him to move lots of data around.

Snowden himself remarked, through his lawyers, that “It’s ironic that officials are giving classified information to journalists in an effort to discredit me for giving classified information to journalists. The difference is that I did so to inform the public about the government’s actions, and they’re doing so to misinform the public about mine.” ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.