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Sign outside the National Security Agency HQ

Europe, SAVE US! Patriot Act author begs for help to curb NSA spying

US House Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, the lead author of controversial anti-terror law the Patriot Act, has asked the European Parliament for help in taming the NSA. He also called for Europe to put pressure on the US to change its legislation and bring a halt to the spy agency's planet-wide communications data-slurping …
Iain Thomson, 13 Nov 2013

John Kerry bombshell: 'Yes, the NSA... reached TOO FAR, inappropriately'

US Secretary of State John Kerry has issued a rare mea culpa on behalf of the US government and its NSA surveillance platforms. Speaking at a panel discussion for the Open Government Partnership, Kerry said that in its efforts to thwart terrorists, the US had gone "too far" in its collection of personal data, but insisted that …
Shaun Nichols, 01 Nov 2013

NSA admits slurping thousands of domestic emails with no terror connection

The analysts at the NSA spent years gathering tens of thousands of emails between US citizens in violation of the US constitution, as a component of a single (discontinued) data slurping program, the agency has revealed. These emails were from people with no direct connection to terrorism, according to a secret opinion from the …
Jack Clark, 21 Aug 2013
The NSA Unchained

Tuesday declared 'The Day we Fight Back' against NSA et al

A broad coalition of technology companies and activist groups has declared Tuesday, February 11th 2014 has been “The Day We Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance”. Timed to co-incide with the first anniversary of Aaron Swartz's death, the day has attracted support from some unsurprising sources – the Electronic Frontier …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Feb 2014

US govt watchdog slams NSA snooping as illegal, useless against terrorism

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a federal panel set up to advise the US government on policy, has published report concluding that the bulk collection of data on US citizens by the NSA is illegal and ineffective at stopping terrorism. "Based on the information provided to the board, including classified …
Iain Thomson, 23 Jan 2014
neelie kroes

Steelie Neelie: ICANN think of more 'credible' rules for internet. (Cough *NSA* cough)

EU vice president Neelie Kroes wants the US to slacken its grip on how the internet is managed in the aftermath of revelations about mass surveillance of innocent citizens. She said today that reform was needed to make internet governance more inclusive, transparent and accountable around the globe, with particular emphasis …
Kelly Fiveash, 12 Feb 2014
NSA's Fort Meade headquarters

NSA's Project Marina stores EVERYONE'S metadata for A YEAR

New details from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have shown the existence of Project Marina, a metadata collection system that collects details on the activity of almost all internet users, regardless of whether they are legitimate subjects for enquiry or not. The US government has always insisted that – as far as possible – …
Iain Thomson, 30 Sep 2013
Sign outside the National Security Agency HQ

Snowden: I'll swap you my anti-NSA knowhow for asylum ... Brazil says: Não

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has apparently offered Brazil help in uncovering US surveillance of the South American nation – in a fresh plea for asylum. In an open letter published today by the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, it appears Snowden reckons he can assist in sniffing out NSA spying and protect peeps from …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Dec 2013
The NSA Unchained

NSA justifies hacking world's digital communications

The NSA has published a statement explaining why US spies have been studying, infiltrating, and subverting so many of the digital technologies upon which people depend. The statement, "Why the Intelligence Community Seeks to Understand Online Communication Tools & Technologies", was published by the US Office of the Director of …
Jack Clark, 04 Oct 2013
John McCain

I want NSA chief's head on a plate for Merkelgate, storms Senator McCain

John McCain, the US senator who lost to Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential elections, wants General Keith Alexander, head of the NSA and US Cyber Command, to resign over revelations that US spies bugged the telephone of Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel. In a strongly worded interview with Der Spiegel McCain blamed "the head …
Iain Thomson, 11 Nov 2013

NSA reporter leaves paper for eBay billionaire backed media biz

Glenn Greenwald, the reporter who broke the NSA surveillance story, is leaving British daily The Guardian to join a mysterious new eBay billionaire-backed publication. The American journalist has been a thorn in the NSA's side ever since he worked on the release of documents leaked by its contracted sysadmin Edward Snowden, who …
Jasper Hamill, 17 Oct 2013
Empty racks awaiting customer kit at HP's Aurora data centre

NSA: 'Dozens of attacks' prevented by snooping

The National Security Agency has defended its slurping of phone records and other business data on the grounds the information contained has helped it fight terrorism. In a congressional hearing on cybersecurity and government surveillance on Tuesday, NSA Director General Keith Alexander said the NSA's data slurping had let it …
Jack Clark, 12 Jun 2013

NIST denies it weakened its encryption standard to please the NSA

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has vehemently denied accusations that it deliberately weakened encryption standards to help the NSA's monitoring activities. "We want to assure the IT cybersecurity community that the transparent, public process used to rigorously vet our standards is still in place …
Iain Thomson, 11 Sep 2013

NSA spooks tooled up with zero-day PC security exploits from the FRENCH

The NSA bought specialist computer hacking tools and research from French security outfit Vupen, according to documents unearthed using the Freedom of Information Act. A contract shows the American spooks paid for a year's supply of zero-day vulnerability information and the software needed to exploit those flaws to attack …
John Leyden, 17 Sep 2013
Picard Facepalm

NSA gets burned by a sysadmin, decides to burn 90% of its sysadmins

The NSA has announced its brainwave to end further leaks about its secret operations by disaffected employees: it will simply sack 90 per cent of all its sysadmins. The US surveillance agency's spyboss General Keith Alexander told a computer security conference in New York that automating much of his organisation's work - such …
Jasper Hamill, 09 Aug 2013
Sign outside the National Security Agency HQ

Microsoft, HURTING after NSA backdooring, vows to now harden its pipe

Microsoft is scrambling to encrypt its data centers' interlinks – after a fresh Snowden leak suggested the NSA and GCHQ tapped into the cables and intercepted sensitive network traffic. Documents obtained by the Washington Post from the whistleblower show that Microsoft's Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger services and Passport …
Iain Thomson, 27 Nov 2013

NSA in new SHOCK 'can see public data' SCANDAL!

In the latest round of increasingly-hyperbolic leaks about what spy agencies are doing with data, reports are emerging that the NSA has been graphing connections between American individuals. Moreover, it's using stuff that people publish on their social media timelines to help the case along. According to this item in the New …
photo by phylevn/ licensed under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

New leak claim: NSA saw hole in Mexican prez's email box - and hacked it

America's relationship with its nearest southerly neighbor are frostier than before after it was claimed that in May 2010 the NSA conducted an operation dubbed Flatliquid that hacked the contents of the then-Mexican president's inbox. According to documents leaked to Der Spiegel, a division of the NSA dubbed Tailored Access …
Iain Thomson, 22 Oct 2013
Picard Facepalm

NSA chief leaks info on data sharing tech: It's SharePoint

The NSA has admitted that the organization's use of Microsoft SharePoint allowed an unnamed sysadmin to leak information. In what can be perceived as either a ringing endorsement of SharePoint's "collaborative power", or a depressing admission that, yes, spooks use the same infuriating software as we do, NSA chief General Keith …
Jack Clark, 19 Jul 2013
Supreme Court Building

Slurp away, NSA: Mass phone data collection IS legal, rules federal judge

A US federal judge has ruled that the NSA is within its rights to harvest millions of innocent Americans' telephone call records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act – and that the dragnet is fine under the Fourth Amendment since the data was collected by a third-party telco, not the government. The decision kicks the debate …
Iain Thomson, 27 Dec 2013
Un Frog

Furious French choke on chardonnay over NSA's phone spying in France

The latest documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have the French government up in arms: the spying agency collected data on seven million calls and texts a day in the land of fine wine and cheese. That's according to a dossier published by Le Monde on Monday. The files reveal that the NSA had two spying …
Iain Thomson, 21 Oct 2013

Microsoft FAILS to encrypt data centre links despite NSA snooping

Microsoft has admitted it doesn't yet encrypt "server-to-server" communications, although it plans to review its security arrangements in the wake of ongoing revelations about NSA spying. The non-cryption admission, made by a senior Microsoft legal officer during an EU inquiry, comes shortly after leaks by whistleblower Edward …
John Leyden, 14 Nov 2013

Extended Random: The PHANTOM NSA-RSA backdoor that never was

Over the last day or so the security press has been touting stories of a second NSA-induced backdoor in RSA's encryption software BSafe. But it appears to be more sound and fury than substance. The brouhaha was kicked off by a Reuters report into an as-yet-unpublished academic study examining the cryptographically crap Dual …
Iain Thomson, 02 Apr 2014
NSA's Fort Meade headquarters

Web giants cry foul over US gov's refusal to budge on NSA spy gag orders

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Facebook are still fighting for permission to warn people who are under online surveillance, after their campaign for transparency was derailed by the US Department of Justice. The web giants had asked the DoJ to lift restrictions on alerting users when they are being snooped on by intelligence …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Nov 2013

NSA spies should clean up their act, says Prez Obama-picked panel

An independent review board has recommended that the US federal government continue its myriad foreign and domestic surveillance programs, but only if it makes significant changes to protect individual privacy. The Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies was convened by President Obama in August in the wake …
Neil McAllister, 19 Dec 2013
Angry Birds for PC

Fancy a little kinky sex? GCHQ+NSA will know - thanks to ANGRY BIRDS

Some of the world's most popular smartphone applications are telling British and American intelligence agencies everything about you – from your location to your politics or whether you're part of the swinging set. That's according to classified documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The dossier, published today …
Iain Thomson, 27 Jan 2014
Tony Blair closes the RSA 2012 conference

Infosec experts boycott RSA conflab over alleged 'secret' NSA contract

More security researchers are boycotting next month's US edition of the RSA Conference in protest against an alleged "secret deal" the company is said to have struck with the National Security Agency. Last month Reuters reported that the NSA "secretly paid" RSA Security $10m in return for making the Dual_EC_DRBG random number …
John Leyden, 08 Jan 2014

Privacy warriors haul NSA into court, demand swift end to mass call snooping

A collection of civil-liberties campaigners has called on a US federal court to summarily block government agencies from monitoring phones. The optimistic bunch, which includes the EFF, claims that large-scale collection of call metadata is preventing them from carrying out their day-to-day business, and threatens protections on …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Nov 2013
European Union Flag

Euro Parliament axes data sharing with US – the NSA swiped the bytes anyway

The European Parliament has voted to halt the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP), an agreement to share data on financial transactions in the Continent with the US – after documents leaked by Edward Snowden showed the NSA was hacking the system anyway. "Parliament stresses that any data-sharing agreement with the US must …
Iain Thomson, 24 Oct 2013
Keith Alexander

NSA boss Alexander and deputy to take a hike next year

The head of the NSA and his deputy are both expected to leave the signals intelligence agency over the next six months, unnamed US officials told Reuters. The departure of General Keith Alexander, the former US Army officer who has served as the NSA's director for that last eight years, and his civilian deputy would potentially …
John Leyden, 17 Oct 2013
Zombie cloud

New NSA leak reveals invasion of the management consultants

The Register can reveal that while the NSA has been infiltrating the highest echelons of the governments of US allies, a counter-infiltration has taken place. Crack teams of Microsoft marketing droids, sleeper cells of incognito TEDx speakers and the greatest sociologists ever to torture a syntax into confessing to crimes of …
Sign outside the National Security Agency HQ

NSA to world+dog: We're only watching 1.6% of internet, honest

The US's National Security Agency (NSA) has issued a document titled The National Security Agency: Missions, Authorities, Oversight and Partnerships (PDF) that explains some of its operations - and includes a claim it “... touches about 1.6 per cent... “ of daily internet traffic and “...only 0.025 per cent is actually selected …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Aug 2013

The Schmidt hits the Man: NSA spying on Google servers? 'OUTRAGEOUS!'

Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt has branded the NSA's alleged surveillance of web giants' data centers "outrageous". Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Schmidt lashed out at American spooks after documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden suggested Google and Yahoo! data center links were being snooped on. "It's …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Nov 2013

Snowden latest: NSA stalks the human race using Google, ad cookies

The already strained relationship between Google and the NSA has got a little bit worse, after claims in the latest Snowden leak that intelligence agencies are using the Chocolate Factory's cookies to track targets. Documents seen by the Washington Post show that the NSA and the British snoops at GCHQ have found a way to …
Iain Thomson, 12 Dec 2013

Snowden leak journo leaks next leak: NSA, GCHQ dying to snoop on your gadgets mid-flight

Top-secret documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have been plastered across our screens and front-pages for months by Glenn Greenwald and his team. And on Friday the journalist couldn't help but leak a few details about a forthcoming wave of fresh revelations regarding the US and UK governments' mass surveillance …
Chris Williams, 27 Dec 2013
Sign outside the National Security Agency HQ

Snowden: 'I am still working for the NSA ... to improve it'

Edward Snowden believes he is “still working for the NSA right now” and that his actions in recent months don't constitute treason but an effort “to improve the NSA”, according to an interview in The Washington Post. Snowden's thinking is that he did not set out to “bring down the NSA” but that his theft of and distribution of …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Dec 2013
The US Cyber Command official seal

Playtime's over: Next NSA boss may be torn away from US cyber-war effort

The job of running both the NSA and the US Cyber Command – which tasked with defending Uncle Sam's military computer networks – may be split after their boss General Keith Alexander retires. Alexander became a four-star general after he took the combined roles of leading both the NSA and US Cyber Command following the creation …
John Leyden, 05 Nov 2013

Campaign to kick NSA man from crypto standards group fails

National Security Agency employee Kevin Igoe is to keep his position on the panel of an influential internet standards working group, the powers-that-be decided last weekend. Igoe, who co-chairs the Internet Research Task Force's Crypto Forum Research Group (CFRG), had been accused by those campaigning for his removal of pushing …
John Leyden, 08 Jan 2014
NSA parody T-shirt

NSA's TURBINE robot can pump 'malware into MILLIONS of PCs'

The latest batch of top-secret intelligence documents from the hoard collected by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden detail the massive increase in the agency's use of its Tailored Access Operations (TAO) hacking unit – including a system dubbed TURBINE that can spam out millions of pieces of sophisticated malware at a time. The …
Iain Thomson, 12 Mar 2014

Snowden speaks: NSA spies create 'databases of ruin' on innocent folks

Ex-NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden used his first public Q&A to call for the US to lead a global initiative to ban mass surveillance of populations. He also wants governments to ensure that intelligence agencies can protect national security while not invading everyday privacy. "Not all spying is bad. The …
Iain Thomson, 24 Jan 2014

Declassified documents show NSA staff abused tapping, misled courts

The US Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has declassified 1,800 pages of documents that indicate that the NSA routinely overstepped its authority and misled oversight bodies about the surveillance of US citizens. "In June of this year, President Obama directed me to declassify and make public as much …
Iain Thomson, 11 Sep 2013
The NSA Unchained

Snowden: NSA whacks US in the WALLET, slurps millions of contacts books

The National Security Agency is hurting the US economy with its "dragnet" surveillance, says uber-leaker Edward Snowden. Snowden made his remarks at an event in Russia last week, footage of which surfaced on Monday. He also alleged, via The Washington Post, that the NSA has been slurping the contents of some 250 million …
Jack Clark, 15 Oct 2013

Want to sit in Picard's chair while spying on THE WORLD? We can make it so – ex-NSA man

National Security Agency director Keith Alexander apparently sold the concept of surveillance to members of Congress using an operations centre styled on the bridge of the starship Enterprise from much-loved sci-fi series Star Trek. According to "a former administration official" who spoke to Foreign Policy magazine, General …
John Leyden, 16 Sep 2013
The NSA Unchained

NSA tactics no better than a CYBERCRIME GANG, says infosec'er

The NSA operates like a state-sponsored cybercrime gang using much the same tools and techniques as miscreants slinging banking trojans, one cynic has suggested. Anyone following the Snowden revelations knows by now that the NSA uses exploits and malware to spy on the online activities of targets, but ponytailed infosec expert …
John Leyden, 11 Oct 2013
Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)

NSA-friendly cyber-slurp law CISPA back on the table with new Senate bill

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which allows private companies to share customer information with the NSA and others in the name of cybersecurity, is back on the legislative agenda. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) today confirmed the draft law would be brought before the US Senate. "I am working with …
Iain Thomson, 22 Oct 2013

Deutsche Telekom launches 'NSA-busting' encrypted email service

Deutsche Telekom and United Internet have launched a super-secure German email service that they claim defeats the data-sniffing shenanigans of the likes of the NSA. The partners announced that they were starting an initiative for "secure email communication across Germany". "Germans are deeply unsettled by the latest reports …

Reports: NSA has compromised most internet encryption

The NSA and the GCHQ have compromised much encryption used on the internet through a potent mix of technological theft, spycraft, and collaboration with major technology companies, according to new reports. In a series of news articles that highlight how the code-breaking crypto-fiddling agencies NSA and GCHQ are doing their job …
Jack Clark, 05 Sep 2013
John McAfee

McAfee the man launches 'NSA-thwarting' $100 privacy gizmo

John McAfee, the wild man of security software, has unveiled plans for a cheap gadget for decentralised networking that he claims can keep users safe from the prying eyes of government. The D-Central, which McAfee hopes to produce within six months, would cost around $100, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Technically we seem …
John Leyden, 01 Oct 2013

Worried OpenSSL uses NSA-tainted crypto? This BUG has got your back

As fears grow that US and UK spies have deliberately hamstrung key components in today's encryption systems, users of OpenSSL can certainly relax about one thing. It has been revealed that the cryptography toolkit – used by reams of software from web browsers for HTTPS to SSH for secure terminals – is not using the discredited …
John Leyden, 20 Dec 2013
flag.Brazil

Brazilian TV show accuses NSA of spying on oil firm based on leaked docs

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has said that if leaked NSA documents showing the US spied on her country's state-run oil firm Petrobras are "confirmed", then it must have done so for “economic and strategic” reasons rather than for "national security". The leaked "intelligence documents" appear to run counter to US claims it …
John Leyden, 11 Sep 2013