Feeds

NSA 'hunted sysadmins' to find CAT PHOTOS, high-level passwords

Latest Snowden docs detail sniffing sysadmin activity to help attacks on carriers' routers

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Staff at the United States' National Security Agency reportedly “hunted” system administrators because they felt doing so would yield passwords that enabled easier surveillance.

So says The Intercept, which claims this document came its way thanks to one E. Snowden, late of Moscow.

The document is apparently a lift from an internal NSA message board featuring discussions among staff. The posts detail how NSA agents feel targeting sysadmins as a short cut towards tracking their targets deemed to be worthy of investigation.

“My end target is the extremist/terrorist or government official that happens to be using the network some admin takes care of” writes someone under the classification “S/SI//REL” (Secret, COMINT, releasable to Five Eyes partners), who goes on to explain it's hard to access the infrastructure needed to track their prey.

“Who better to target than the person who already has 'the keys to the kingdom'?” the author continues. “Many times as soon as I see a target show up on a new network, one of my first goals is, 'Can we CNE [computer network exploitation] access to the admins on that network, in order to get access to the infrastructure that the target is using'?”

The document then discusses how to identify Sysadmins by using social media profiles. Looking at Telnet traffic is another suggested method, as the NSA chaps assume nobody but sysadmins use Telnet these days.

The prize if sysadmins can be subverted, the writers say, can include: Network maps off of their hard drive credentials from text files (or from our key-loggers … potato potato) full lists of customers (along with associated dedicated IP allocations is a bonus) e-mail with upstream providers detailing how your network is connected to the bigger Internetz. For example, if I can see they use certain fibre cables to connect to the world, I'll go look in SSO's collect for their traffic. If they use VSAT's, I'll go look for their network in FORNSAT's environment pictures of cats in funny poses with amusing captions

The point of sysdmin attacks is to get at carriers' core routers, an effort the document explains “has been good business for us and our 5-eyes partners for some time now”.

The bad news is that the document says other nations are getting better at attacking such routers.

No sysadmin, it seems, is safe. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.