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German spy agency staffer spied for NSA during gov probe into NSA spying – report

A German intelligence agency staffer has been arrested after allegedly being caught spying on behalf on the US, according to reports by German newspapers. The country's Federal Prosecutor's office has confirmed that a man had been arrested on suspicion of being a foreign spy, but gave no further details. According to reports in …
John Leyden, 07 Jul 2014
3-rotor WWII Enigma

Congress divorces NIST and NSA

The US Congress has passed a bill that removes the NSA's direct input into encryption standards. According to a report at ProPublica, an amendment to the National Institute of Standards and Technology act removes the requirement that NIST consult with the NSA in setting new encryption standards. Following the Snowden …
NSA parody T-shirt

Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report

The NSA's denial it knew about or exploited the Heartbleed bug raises an obvious question: does it exploit similar flaws? The answer, according to The New York Times, is yes. Quoting ”senior administration officials”, the paper says US President Barack Obama considered what the NSA should do if it becomes aware of a …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Apr 2014
NSA parody T-shirt

Scariest NSA revelation yet: Spooks are RUBBISH at CIPHERS

The NSA (yes, that NSA) has triggered a bit of a Tweet-storm, followed by helpless fits of giggles among geeks, by posting a job-ad-Tweet that used a simple Roman-style substitution cipher. tpfccdlfdtte pcaccplircdt dklpcfrp?qeiq lhpqlipqeodf gpwafopwprti izxndkiqpkii krirrifcapnc dxkdciqcafmd vkfpcadf. #MissionMonday #NSA #news …

Greenwald alleges NSA tampers with routers to plant backdoors

Glenn Greenwald, the journalist responsible for funnelling many of Edward Snowden's revelations to the world, has penned a book in which he alleges the NSA intercepts routers before US manufacturers can export them, in order to implant backdoors. Excerpted by The Guardian, Greenwald's tome No Place to Hide alleges the following …
Simon Sharwood, 13 May 2014

New NSA boss plays down impact of Snowden leaks

Incoming NSA chief Admiral Michael Rogers has played down the impact of the Snowden revelations on the spy agency's work. Former NSA director, General Keith Alexander, described the Snowden leaks as one of the worst breaches in intelligence history. UK spy agency bosses at GCHQ and MI6 told a Parliamentary inquiry back in …
John Leyden, 01 Jul 2014
Typewriter image

German NSA probe chief mulls spy-busting typewriters

Germany's government has mulled a return to typewriters in a bid to evade US spy agencies, according to the head of the nation's National Security Agency inquiry. The incredible decision came in response to a torrent of allegations that the NSA had spied on the German agencies and parties including Chancellor Angela Merkel. It …
Darren Pauli, 17 Jul 2014
Airship over NSA datacenter

NIST told to grow a pair and kick NSA to the curb

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been urged to hire more crypto experts so it can confidently tell the NSA to take a hike. A report (PDF) from NIST's Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology (VCAT) – which scrutinizes and advises the institute – scolds NIST for being too reliant on the NSA's …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Jul 2014
NSA parody T-shirt

NSA dragnet mostly slurped innocents' traffic

NSA babbler Edward Snowden's latest drop alleges something that's been suspected ever since he went public during 2013: that spy agencies reach far beyond “persons-of-interest”, with data on ordinary internet users far outstripping that held over formal “targets”. According to The Washington Post, the latest set of documents – …
NSA parody T-shirt

Surprise! NSA's first ever 'transparency' 'report' is anything but

The US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has published the NSA's first "transparency report", revealing the number of "targets" spied on by the agency. Its definition of the word transparency, however, makes the data somewhat hard to fathom. "Within the Intelligence Community, the term 'target' has multiple …
Iain Thomson, 27 Jun 2014
James Bond in the Bahamas

Latest Snowden leak claims NSA bugged ALL mobile calls in the Bahamas

A fresh dossier of documents apparently from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden claims that the NSA is running a telephone-tapping system that records the metadata and content of all mobile phone calls of two countries, including the island paradise of the Bahamas. The documents, published in The Intercept, state that the system, …
Iain Thomson, 19 May 2014

Hackers reverse-engineer NSA spy kit using off-the-shelf parts

Last year Edward Snowden leaked the NSA's Advanced Network Technology catalog, a listing of the hardware and software tools the agency makes available to agents for spying. Now enterprising security experts are using the catalog to build similar tools using available electronics. The team, led by Michael Ossmann of Great Scott …
Iain Thomson, 19 Jun 2014
Sign outside the National Security Agency HQ

Report: Google's NSA dealings not as bad as you thought – THEY WERE WORSE

Google and other technology giants were working far more closely with the NSA government than originally thought, if a set of uncovered internal emails are to be believed. Al Jazeera has posted an email correspondence between NSA director General Keith Alexander and Google's Eric Schmidt and Sergey Brin discussing cooperation …
Shaun Nichols, 07 May 2014
The US Cyber Command official seal

What is ex-NSA spyboss selling for $1m a month, asks US congressman

Representative Alan Grayson (D-FL) is pushing for a formal investigation into the activities of General Keith Alexander now that the former head of the NSA has started his own very expensive security consultancy. There is no evidence of any wrongdoing by Gen Alexander. Last week it was reported that Alexander, who retired from …
Iain Thomson, 26 Jun 2014

Congress passes crackdown on NSA surveillance

The US House of Representatives has passed a measure aimed at limiting the NSA's ability to access personal data and conduct surveillance. The House on Thursday voted to approve an amendment to the 2015 Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 4870) seeking to prevent warrantless collection of data from government …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Jun 2014

Germany says 'nein' to NSA hacking prosecution

Officials in Germany are not planning to pursue charges over allegations that the NSA was spying on German citizens and government officials. According to a German media report, officials do not believe they have enough evidence to press charges, even though German Chancellor Angela Merkel is thought to have been one of the …
Shaun Nichols, 28 May 2014
NSA parody T-shirt

NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS

The tech world is aflutter over the Heartbleed encryption flaw in OpenSSL, but it seems that the bug was no surprise to the analysts of the NSA, since they have reportedly been using it for two years to spy on data traffic. Two sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that NSA staff picked up on the fatal flaw shortly …
Iain Thomson, 11 Apr 2014

EFF sues NSA over snoops 'hoarding' zero-day security bugs

Intelligence agencies are among the most prolific buyers of zero-day computer security flaws that can be used to spy on enemies foreign and domestic, or so it's claimed – and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has launched a lawsuit to find out what exactly they are doing with them. "Since these vulnerabilities potentially …
Iain Thomson, 02 Jul 2014
Bruce Schneier

Bruce Schneier sneers at IBM's NSA denials

Ten days ago IBM issued ”A Letter to Our Clients About Government Access to Data” that, as we reported, swore on all that is good and holy that it did not hand over data to the NSA and would never do such a thing. But the letter did not satisfy security commentator Bruce Schneier who's penned an open letter of his own to Big …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Mar 2014

US Supreme Court declines to hear NSA mass phone-slurp case

The US Supreme Court has declined to hear a case brought against the NSA by Verizon customers over the agency's mass collection of mobile phone call data. Lawyer Larry Klayman won the first round of the case against America's top online spying agency in December, when District of Columbia Judge Richard Leon found in favor of the …
Iain Thomson, 08 Apr 2014
Zxx font example

Well done on the privacy lawsuit. Now NSA will keep your phone records INDEFINITELY

The US government is considering extending the controversial collections of US citizens' phone records for an even longer period in order to avoid tossing potential evidence in lawsuits designed to curtail the surveillance programme. Lawsuits geared to stopping the indiscriminate, untargeted collection of phone call records mean …
John Leyden, 27 Feb 2014

'Good job, NSA! You turned Yahoo! into an encryption beast'

Yahoo! has announced major encryption improvements designed to thwart dragnet surveillance efforts by the likes of the NSA. Alex Stamos, Yahoo!'s recently appointed CISO (chief information security officer), said the internet giant has finished encrypting traffic between its data centres. Stamos also outlined a roadmap for …
John Leyden, 03 Apr 2014
Sign outside the National Security Agency HQ

Don't panic! Mega cloud biz group says NSA just one among many threats

Enterprises are being told to not abandon the cloud out of fear of possible threats to their data security posed by US government snoops. The Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA) has advised big companies the benefits of cloud – escaping their legacy IT – far outweigh risks of the National Security Agency pilfering their secrets. …
Gavin Clarke, 07 Jul 2014
The NSA Unchained

NSA installed '50,000 malware sleeper cells' in world computer networks

America's NSA had established an army of "sleeper cells" – malware-infected, remote-controllable computers – on 50,000 networks by the middle of 2012. That's according to the latest leaks from whistleblower Edward Snowden. Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad reports that the elite NSA TAO (Tailored Access Operations) hacking squad …
John Leyden, 25 Nov 2013

New secure OS will put Tails between NSA's legs

Secure Linux distribution Tails has reached the milestone of a version 1.0 release, after its developers crushed a laundry list of bugs. The Debian-based operating system is a “live OS” - it boots from removable media rather than a hard disk. It also funnels all data through Tor and uses a smattering of cryptography and …
Darren Pauli, 01 May 2014
3-rotor WWII Enigma

Microsoft thumbs nose at NSA, hardens crypto for Outlook, OneDrive

Microsoft has flipped the switch to activate stronger encryption on its OneDrive and Outlook.com cloud services as part of a broader effort to make it harder for the NSA and other spying agencies to snoop on its customers' data. Specifically, Outlook.com now supports TLS encryption on all connections to its servers, both …
Neil McAllister, 01 Jul 2014

Germany dumps Verizon for Deutsche Telekom over NSA spying

The German government has said it will cancel its contract with US telecoms provider Verizon, citing spying fears. "The pressures on networks as well as the risks from highly-developed viruses or Trojans are rising," the country's Interior Ministry told Reuters on Thursday. "Furthermore, the ties revealed between foreign …
Neil McAllister, 26 Jun 2014
NSA parody T-shirt

Fine, you can mock us: NSA spies back down in T-shirt ridicule brouhaha

The NSA and Department of Homeland Security have abandoned efforts to shut down an internet site selling parodies of its logos on T-shirts, coffee cups and bumper stickers. A tee with a slogan reads: The NSA, the only part of the government that listens Fort Meade shows a poor sense of humor Almost three years ago the NSA …
Iain Thomson, 18 Feb 2014

IBM: We gave NOTHING to the NSA, stateside or elsewhere

IBM has become the latest of the tech giants to deny handing over customer data to the NSA's PRISM program. In this open letter, Big Blue's general counsel Robert Weber (also senior veep for legal and regulatory affairs) gives the “no way” message to the world at large. Specifically, Weber writes that IBM did not provide “ …
NSA's Fort Meade headquarters

Ex-NSA boss Alexander joins bankers' CYBER WAR COUNCIL

Former NSA head Keith Alexander has been tapped up to advise a new cyber war council for government and financial institutions in the US, according to Bloomberg. The biz news site has seen a proposal from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) that suggests that the industry needs a committee of execs …

Pakistan mulls cyber security bill to keep NSA at bay

Pakistan’s Upper House this week began debating a new bill seeking to establish a National Cyber Security Council, an agency the nation feels is needed in the wake of Edward Snowden's myriad revelations about NSA surveillance. The Cyber Security Council Bill 2014 was presented by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed on Monday with the …
Phil Muncaster, 15 Apr 2014
Sign outside the National Security Agency HQ

NSA alleges 'BIOS plot to destroy PCs'

Senior National Security Agency (NSA) officials have told US news magazine program “60 Minutes” that a foreign nation tried to infect computers with a BIOS-based virus that would have enabled them to be remotely destroyed. NSA Director General Keith Alexander and Information Assurance Director Debora Plunkett both appeared on …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Dec 2013
NSA parody T-shirt

Use Tor or 'extremist' Tails Linux? Congrats, you're on an NSA list

Alleged leaked documents about the NSA's XKeyscore snooping software appear to show the paranoid agency is targeting Tor and Tails users, Linux Journal readers – and anyone else interested in online privacy. At the heart of the claims is this sample configuration file for the XKeyscore system. The top-secret documents were …
Iain Thomson, 03 Jul 2014
The NSA Unchained

NSA spies recorded an entire COUNTRY'S phone calls for a MONTH: Report

The NSA is recording all of the voice calls in one unnamed country and keeping those recordings for 30 days at a time as part of a previously undisclosed rolling wiretap programme, according to leaks recently published in WSJ. Millions of voice "cuts" are extracted for long time storage as part of a system called MYSTIC that's …
John Leyden, 19 Mar 2014
Obama outlines NSA reforms

Hold on, everyone ... Prez Obama thinks he's cracked this NSA super-snooping problem

After nine months of revelations about the extent of US government surveillance, the Obama administration is floating a plan that will curtail mass snooping by its intelligence agencies and reform the way individuals are investigated. "I said several months ago that I was assigning our intelligence community to bring me new …
Iain Thomson, 26 Mar 2014
Sign outside the National Security Agency HQ

Supreme Court can't find barge pole long enough to touch NSA lawsuit

The US Supreme Court has decided that it will not hear a challenge to the NSA's controversial mass surveillance operations. The court declined to hear the case brought forward by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) against the NSA over its slurping of citizens' personal records from the US mobile carrier Verizon. …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Nov 2013
Credit: IGNACIO LEONARDI http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1118608

NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'

Edward Snowden has given an interview to The Guardian from his Russian hideout and warned that, among other things, those naked selfies people send to their loved ones are common currency among NSA staff. "You've got young enlisted guys, 18 to 22 years old. They've suddenly been thrust into a position of extraordinary …
Iain Thomson, 17 Jul 2014
Shot of female priest avatar in World of Warcraft

To fel with you! There's an NSA spook in my World of Warcraft

The NSA placed spies in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft in a bid to tackle info-swapping terrorists, it has emerged. According to the latest leaked document published by The Guardian, spooks were stationed in the virtual world of Azeroth and told to “hide in plain sight". The NSA briefing …
Jasper Hamill, 09 Dec 2013

Senate introduces USA FREEDOM Act to curb NSA spying excesses

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has introduced the USA FREEDOM Act to the US Senate and claims, that, if passed, the legislation will severely curtail the amount of mass surveillance that can be carried out by the NSA and others – provided you're a citizen of the land of the free. "This is a debate about Americans' fundamental …
Iain Thomson, 29 Jul 2014

Snowden files latest: NSA and GCHQ targeted German satcomms

The NSA and GCHQ hacked into the systems of three German satellite communication providers, according to the latest leaks from the files of Edward Snowden, fugitive ex-NSA sysadmin. Der Spiegel reports that GCHQ and the NSA tried to infiltrate internal networks run by satellite comms firms Stellar, Cetel and IABG. Stellar …
John Leyden, 31 Mar 2014
Sergy Brin meets Snowden

'Arrogant' Snowden putting lives at risk, says NSA's deputy spyboss

Two days after NSA leaker Edward Snowden addressed the latest TED technology jamboree in robot form, the US intelligence agency has also made an appearance – with deputy director Richard Ledgett dialing in by video link. Ledgett said the NSA's core problem was that it was lousy at PR, rather than that it was invading innocent …
Iain Thomson, 20 Mar 2014
Peter Gutmann

Crypto-guru slams 'NSA-proof' tech, says today's crypto is strong enough

History is filled with companies shamed by their shoddy cryptography implementations – even though the underlying maths is bang on. In a presentation titled "Crypto Won't Save You" at the AusCERT conference on Australia's Gold Coast, respected cryptographer Peter Gutmann of the University of Auckland took security bods through a …
Darren Pauli, 16 May 2014
Emiland De Cubber's alternative PRISM logo

NSA accused of new crimes ... against slideware

The NSA's much-discussed PRISM initiative has attracted criticism galore from political activists, but now it has come up against serious opposition: a ticked-off designer offended by the poor quality of the NSA's slideware. The designer in question is Emiland De Cubber, a slideware professional who has declared the NSA “can do …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Jun 2013
NSA parody T-shirt

Congress guts law to restrict NSA spying, civil liberty groups appalled

Civil liberties groups have reacted angrily after Congress changed key provisions in the USA FREEDOM Act before submitting it to a full vote by the House of Representatives, scheduled for Thursday. "This legislation was designed to prohibit bulk collection, but has been made so weak that it fails to adequately protect against …
Iain Thomson, 21 May 2014
Barack Obama in the Oval Office

Microsoft: NSA security fallout 'getting worse' ... 'not blowing over'

Microsoft's top lawyer says the fallout of the NSA spying scandal is "getting worse," and carries grim implications for US tech companies. In a speech at the GigaOm Structure conference in San Francisco on Thursday, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith warned attendees that unless the US political establishment figures out how …
Jack Clark, 19 Jun 2014

NSA man says agency can track you through POWER LINES

Forensics and industry experts have cast doubt on an alleged National Security Agency capability to locate whistle blowers appearing in televised interviews based on how the captured background hum of electrical devices affects energy grids. Divining information from electrified wires is a known technique: Network Frequency …
Darren Pauli, 03 Jul 2014
The NSA Unchained

Modern spying 101: How NSA bugs Chinese PCs with tiny USB radios - NYT

The NSA has compromised almost 100,000 computers around the world in its quest to get its tentacles into air-gapped computers operated by adversaries such as the Chinese Army. The revelation was made by the New York Times in a report published on Tuesday based on documents released by Edward Snowden. The spy agency has …
Jack Clark, 15 Jan 2014

NSA refuses to deny spying on members of Congress

The NSA has refused to confirm or deny that it is collecting information on the communications and email activities of members of Congress after being questioned directly by Bernie Sanders, one of two of the Senate's only independents*. "Has the NSA spied, or is the NSA currently spying, on members of Congress or other America …
Iain Thomson, 06 Jan 2014

That NSA denial in full: As of right now, we're not pretending to be Facebook or Twitter

Inaccurate. That's how US spy hive the NSA today branded claims that it "has infected millions of computers around the world with malware," and that it "is impersonating US social media or other websites" to eavesdrop on people. The clandestine espionage operation hit back at the allegations by issuing a statement [PDF] on …
Team Register, 14 Mar 2014
Sign outside the National Security Agency HQ

NSA collects up to FIVE BILLION mobile phone locations daily

The NSA is maintaining a mobile device tracking program that logs up to five billion updates per day around the world, according to a new report. The Washington Post, citing government sources and documents leaked by Edward Snowden, reports that the US intelligence agency has built a massive database of locational information …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Dec 2013