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National Security Agency – Wikipedia

The National Security Agency (NSA) is a national-level intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense, under the authority of the Director of National Intelligence. The NSA is responsible for global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes, specializing in a discipline known as signals intelligence (SIGINT). The NSA is also tasked with the protection of U.S. communications networks and information systems.[8][9] The NSA relies on a variety of measures to accomplish its mission, the majority of which are clandestine.[10]

Seal of the National Security Agency

Flag of the National Security Agency

Originating as a unit to decipher coded communications in World War II, it was officially formed as the NSA by President Harry S. Truman in 1952. Since then, it has become one of the largest U.S. intelligence organizations in terms of personnel and budget.[6][11]. The NSA currently conducts worldwide mass data collection and has been known to physically bug electronic systems as one method to this end.[12] The NSA has also been alleged to have been behind such attack software as Stuxnet, which severely damaged Iran’s nuclear program.[13][14] The NSA, alongside the CIA, maintain a physical presence in many countries across the globe; the CIA/NSA joint Special Collection Service (a highly classified intelligence team) inserts eavesdropping devices in high value targets (such as Presidential palaces or embassies). SCS collection tactics allegedly encompass “close surveillance, burglary, wiretapping, [and] breaking and entering”.[15][16]

Unlike the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), both of which specialize primarily in foreign human espionage, the NSA does not publically conduct human-source intelligence gathering. The NSA is entrusted with providing assistance to, and the coordination of, SIGINT elements for other government organizations – which are prevented by law from engaging in such activities on their own.[17] As part of these responsibilities, the agency has a co-located organization called the Central Security Service (CSS), which facilitates cooperation between the NSA and other U.S. defense cryptanalysis components. To further ensure streamlined communication between the signals intelligence community divisions, the NSA Director simultaneously serves as the Commander of the United States Cyber Command and as Chief of the Central Security Service.

The NSA’s actions have been a matter of political controversy on several occasions, including its spying on anti-Vietnam-war leaders and the agency’s participation in economic espionage. In 2013, the NSA had many of its secret surveillance programs revealed to the public by Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor. According to the leaked documents, the NSA intercepts and stores the communications of over a billion people worldwide, including United States citizens. The documents also revealed the NSA tracks hundreds of millions of people’s movements using cellphones metadata. Internationally, research has pointed to the NSA’s ability to surveil the domestic Internet traffic of foreign countries through “boomerang routing”.[18] The NSA is currently facing litigation from the Wikimedia Foundation for its potential violation of millions of Americans’ constitutional rights, including users of the site Wikipedia, during the government’s use of mass collection methods such as Upstream.

The origins of the National Security Agency can be traced back to April 28, 1917, three weeks after the U.S. Congress declared war on Germany in World War I. A code and cipher decryption unit was established as the Cable and Telegraph Section which was also known as the Cipher Bureau. It was headquartered in Washington, D.C. and was part of the war effort under the executive branch without direct Congressional authorization. During the course of the war it was relocated in the army’s organizational chart several times. On July 5, 1917, Herbert O. Yardley was assigned to head the unit. At that point, the unit consisted of Yardley and two civilian clerks. It absorbed the navy’s cryptoanalysis functions in July 1918. World War I ended on November 11, 1918, and the army cryptographic section of Military Intelligence (MI-8) moved to New York City on May 20, 1919, where it continued intelligence activities as the Code Compilation Company under the direction of Yardley.[19][20]

After the disbandment of the US Army cryptographic section of Military Intelligence, known as MI-8, in 1919, the United States government created The Cipher Bureau, also known as the Black Chamber. The Black Chamber was the United States’ first peacetime cryptanalytic organization.[21] Jointly funded by the Army and the State Department, the Cipher Bureau was disguised as a New York City commercial code company; it actually produced and sold such codes for business use. Its true mission, however, was to break the communications (chiefly diplomatic) of other nations. Its most notable known success was during the Washington Naval Conference during which it aided American negotiators considerably by providing them with the decrypted traffic of many of the Conference delegations, most notably the Japanese. The Black Chamber successfully persuaded Western Union, the largest U.S. telegram company at the time, as well as several other communications companies to illegally give the Black Chamber access to the cable traffic of foreign embassies and consulates.[22] Eventually, these companies publically discontinued their collaboration.

Despite the American Black Chamber’s initial successes, it was shut down in 1929 by U.S. Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson, who defended his decision by stating: “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail”.[23]

During World War II, the Signal Security Agency (SSA) was created to intercept and decipher the communications of the Axis powers.[24] When the war ended, the SSA was reorganized as the Army Security Agency (ASA), and it was placed under the leadership of the Director of Military Intelligence.[24]

On May 20, 1949, all cryptologic activities were centralized under a national organization called the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA).[24] This organization was originally established within the U.S. Department of Defense under the command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[25] The AFSA was tasked to direct Department of Defense communications and electronic intelligence activities, except those of U.S. military intelligence units.[25] However, the AFSA was unable to centralize communications intelligence and failed to coordinate with civilian agencies that shared its interests such as the Department of State, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).[25] In December 1951, President Harry S. Truman ordered a panel to investigate how AFSA had failed to achieve its goals. The results of the investigation led to improvements and its redesignation as the National Security Agency.[26]

The agency was formally established by Truman in a memorandum of October 24, 1952, that revised National Security Council Intelligence Directive (NSCID) 9.[27] Since President Truman’s memo was a classified document,[27] the existence of the NSA was not known to the public at that time. Due to its ultra-secrecy the U.S. intelligence community referred to the NSA as “No Such Agency”.[28]

In the 1960s, the NSA played a key role in expanding America’s commitment to the Vietnam War by providing evidence of a North Vietnamese attack on the American destroyer USSMaddox during the Gulf of Tonkin incident.[29]

A secret operation, code-named “MINARET”, was set up by the NSA to monitor the phone communications of Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker, as well as major civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr., and prominent U.S. journalists and athletes who criticized the Vietnam War.[30] However, the project turned out to be controversial, and an internal review by the NSA concluded that its Minaret program was “disreputable if not outright illegal”.[30]

The NSA mounted a major effort to secure tactical communications among U.S. forces during the war with mixed success. The NESTOR family of compatible secure voice systems it developed was widely deployed during the Vietnam War, with about 30,000 NESTOR sets produced. However a variety of technical and operational problems limited their use, allowing the North Vietnamese to exploit intercepted U.S. communications.[31]:Vol I, p.79

In the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, a congressional hearing in 1975 led by Sen. Frank Church[32] revealed that the NSA, in collaboration with Britain’s SIGINT intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), had routinely intercepted the international communications of prominent anti-Vietnam war leaders such as Jane Fonda and Dr. Benjamin Spock.[33] Following the resignation of President Richard Nixon, there were several investigations of suspected misuse of FBI, CIA and NSA facilities.[34] Senator Frank Church uncovered previously unknown activity,[34] such as a CIA plot (ordered by the administration of President John F. Kennedy) to assassinate Fidel Castro.[35] The investigation also uncovered NSA’s wiretaps on targeted American citizens.[36]

After the Church Committee hearings, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 was passed into law. This was designed to limit the practice of mass surveillance in the United States.[34]

In 1986, the NSA intercepted the communications of the Libyan government during the immediate aftermath of the Berlin discotheque bombing. The White House asserted that the NSA interception had provided “irrefutable” evidence that Libya was behind the bombing, which U.S. President Ronald Reagan cited as a justification for the 1986 United States bombing of Libya.[37][38]

In 1999, a multi-year investigation by the European Parliament highlighted the NSA’s role in economic espionage in a report entitled ‘Development of Surveillance Technology and Risk of Abuse of Economic Information’.[39] That year, the NSA founded the NSA Hall of Honor, a memorial at the National Cryptologic Museum in Fort Meade, Maryland.[40] The memorial is a, “tribute to the pioneers and heroes who have made significant and long-lasting contributions to American cryptology”.[40] NSA employees must be retired for more than fifteen years to qualify for the memorial.[40]

NSA’s infrastructure deteriorated in the 1990s as defense budget cuts resulted in maintenance deferrals. On January 24, 2000, NSA headquarters suffered a total network outage for three days caused by an overloaded network. Incoming traffic was successfully stored on agency servers, but it could not be directed and processed. The agency carried out emergency repairs at a cost of $3 million to get the system running again. (Some incoming traffic was also directed instead to Britain’s GCHQ for the time being.) Director Michael Hayden called the outage a “wake-up call” for the need to invest in the agency’s infrastructure.[41]

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the NSA created new IT systems to deal with the flood of information from new technologies like the Internet and cellphones. ThinThread contained advanced data mining capabilities. It also had a “privacy mechanism”; surveillance was stored encrypted; decryption required a warrant. The research done under this program may have contributed to the technology used in later systems. ThinThread was cancelled when Michael Hayden chose Trailblazer, which did not include ThinThread’s privacy system.[42]

Trailblazer Project ramped up in 2002 and was worked on by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Boeing, Computer Sciences Corporation, IBM, and Litton Industries. Some NSA whistleblowers complained internally about major problems surrounding Trailblazer. This led to investigations by Congress and the NSA and DoD Inspectors General. The project was cancelled in early 2004.

Turbulence started in 2005. It was developed in small, inexpensive “test” pieces, rather than one grand plan like Trailblazer. It also included offensive cyber-warfare capabilities, like injecting malware into remote computers. Congress criticized Turbulence in 2007 for having similar bureaucratic problems as Trailblazer.[43] It was to be a realization of information processing at higher speeds in cyberspace.[44]

The massive extent of the NSA’s spying, both foreign and domestic, was revealed to the public in a series of detailed disclosures of internal NSA documents beginning in June 2013. Most of the disclosures were leaked by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden.

NSA’s eavesdropping mission includes radio broadcasting, both from various organizations and individuals, the Internet, telephone calls, and other intercepted forms of communication. Its secure communications mission includes military, diplomatic, and all other sensitive, confidential or secret government communications.[45]

According to The Washington Post, “[e]very day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases.”[46]

Because of its listening task, NSA/CSS has been heavily involved in cryptanalytic research, continuing the work of predecessor agencies which had broken many World War II codes and ciphers (see, for instance, Purple, Venona project, and JN-25).

In 2004, NSA Central Security Service and the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agreed to expand NSA Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education Program.[47]

As part of the National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23 (NSPD 54), signed on January 8, 2008, by President Bush, the NSA became the lead agency to monitor and protect all of the federal government’s computer networks from cyber-terrorism.[9]

The NSA intercepts telephone and Internet communications of over a billion people worldwide, seeking information on foreign politics, military developments, terrorist activity, pertinet economic developments,[48] and “commercial secrets”.[49] A dedicated unit of the NSA locates targets for the CIA for extrajudicial assassination in the Middle East.[50] The NSA has also spied extensively on the European Union, the United Nations and numerous governments including allies and trading partners in Europe, South America and Asia.[51][52]

In the United States, at least since 2001,[53] there has been legal controversy over what signal intelligence can be used for and how much freedom the National Security Agency has to use signal intelligence.[54] The government has made, in 2015, slight changes in how it uses and collects certain types of data,[55] specifically phone records.

On December 16, 2005, The New York Times reported that, under White House pressure and with an executive order from President George W. Bush, the National Security Agency, in an attempt to thwart terrorism, had been tapping phone calls made to persons outside the country, without obtaining warrants from the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a secret court created for that purpose under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).[56]

One such surveillance program, authorized by the U.S. Signals Intelligence Directive 18 of President George Bush, was the Highlander Project undertaken for the National Security Agency by the U.S. Army 513th Military Intelligence Brigade. NSA relayed telephone (including cell phone) conversations obtained from ground, airborne, and satellite monitoring stations to various U.S. Army Signal Intelligence Officers, including the 201st Military Intelligence Battalion. Conversations of citizens of the U.S. were intercepted, along with those of other nations.[57]

Proponents of the surveillance program claim that the President has executive authority to order such action, arguing that laws such as FISA are overridden by the President’s Constitutional powers. In addition, some argued that FISA was implicitly overridden by a subsequent statute, the Authorization for Use of Military Force, although the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld deprecates this view. In the August 2006 case ACLU v. NSA, U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor concluded that NSA’s warrantless surveillance program was both illegal and unconstitutional. On July 6, 2007, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the decision on the grounds that the ACLU lacked standing to bring the suit.[58]

On January 17, 2006, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit, CCR v. Bush, against the George W. Bush Presidency. The lawsuit challenged the National Security Agency’s (NSA’s) surveillance of people within the U.S., including the interception of CCR emails without securing a warrant first.[59][60]

In September 2008, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class action lawsuit against the NSA and several high-ranking officials of the Bush administration,[61] charging an “illegal and unconstitutional program of dragnet communications surveillance,”[62] based on documentation provided by former AT&T technician Mark Klein.[63]

As a result of the USA Freedom Act passed by Congress in June 2015, the NSA had to shut down its bulk phone surveillance program on November 29 of the same year. The USA Freedom Act forbids the NSA to collect metadata and content of phone calls unless it has a warrant for terrorism investigation. In that case the agency has to ask the telecom companies for the record, which will only be kept for six months.

In May 2006, Mark Klein, a former AT&T employee, alleged that his company had cooperated with NSA in installing Narus hardware to replace the FBI Carnivore program, to monitor network communications including traffic between American citizens.[64]

NSA was reported in 2008 to use its computing capability to analyze “transactional” data that it regularly acquires from other government agencies, which gather it under their own jurisdictional authorities. As part of this effort, NSA now monitors huge volumes of records of domestic email data, web addresses from Internet searches, bank transfers, credit-card transactions, travel records, and telephone data, according to current and former intelligence officials interviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The sender, recipient, and subject line of emails can be included, but the content of the messages or of phone calls are not.[65]

A 2013 advisory group for the Obama administration, seeking to reform NSA spying programs following the revelations of documents released by Edward J. Snowden.[66] mentioned in ‘Recommendation 30’ on page 37, “…that the National Security Council staff should manage an interagency process to review on a regular basis the activities of the US Government regarding attacks that exploit a previously unknown vulnerability in a computer application.” Retired cyber security expert Richard A. Clarke was a group member and stated on April 11 that NSA had no advance knowledge of Heartbleed.[67]

In August 2013 it was revealed that a 2005 IRS training document showed that NSA intelligence intercepts and wiretaps, both foreign and domestic, were being supplied to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and were illegally used to launch criminal investigations of US citizens. Law enforcement agents were directed to conceal how the investigations began and recreate an apparently legal investigative trail by re-obtaining the same evidence by other means.[68][69]

In the months leading to April 2009, the NSA intercepted the communications of American citizens, including a Congressman, although the Justice Department believed that the interception was unintentional. The Justice Department then took action to correct the issues and bring the program into compliance with existing laws.[70] United States Attorney General Eric Holder resumed the program according to his understanding of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amendment of 2008, without explaining what had occurred.[71]

Polls conducted in June 2013 found divided results among Americans regarding NSA’s secret data collection.[72]Rasmussen Reports found that 59% of Americans disapprove,[73]Gallup found that 53% disapprove,[74] and Pew found that 56% are in favor of NSA data collection.[75]

On April 25, 2013, the NSA obtained a court order requiring Verizon’s Business Network Services to provide metadata on all calls in its system to the NSA “on an ongoing daily basis” for a three-month period, as reported by The Guardian on June 6, 2013. This information includes “the numbers of both parties on a call… location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls” but not “[t]he contents of the conversation itself”. The order relies on the so-called “business records” provision of the Patriot Act.[76][77]

In August 2013, following the Snowden leaks, new details about the NSA’s data mining activity were revealed. Reportedly, the majority of emails into or out of the United States are captured at “selected communications links” and automatically analyzed for keywords or other “selectors”. Emails that do not match are deleted.[78]

The utility of such a massive metadata collection in preventing terrorist attacks is disputed. Many studies reveal the dragnet like system to be ineffective. One such report, released by the New America Foundation concluded that after an analysis of 225 terrorism cases, the NSA “had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism.”[79]

Defenders of the program said that while metadata alone can’t provide all the information necessary to prevent an attack, it assures the ability to “connect the dots”[80] between suspect foreign numbers and domestic numbers with a speed only the NSA’s software is capable of. One benefit of this is quickly being able to determine the difference between suspicious activity and real threats.[citation needed] As an example, NSA director General Keith Alexander mentioned at the annual Cybersecurity Summit in 2013, that metadata analysis of domestic phone call records after the Boston Marathon bombing helped determine that[clarification needed] another attack in New York was baseless.[80]

In addition to doubts about its effectiveness, many people argue that the collection of metadata is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. As of 2015[update], the collection process remains legal and grounded in the ruling from Smith v. Maryland (1979). A prominent opponent of the data collection and its legality is U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon, who issued a report in 2013[81] in which he stated: “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval…Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment”.

As of May 7, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the interpretation of Section 215 of the Patriot Act was wrong and that the NSA program that has been collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk is illegal.[82] It stated that Section 215 cannot be clearly interpreted to allow government to collect national phone data and, as a result, expired on June 1, 2015. This ruling “is the first time a higher-level court in the regular judicial system has reviewed the N.S.A. phone records program.” [83] The replacement law known as the U.S.A. Freedom Act, which will enable the NSA to continue to have bulk access to citizens’ metadata but with the stipulation that the data will now be stored by the companies themselves.[83] This change will not have any effect on other Agency procedures – outside of metadata collection – which have purportedly challenged Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights;[84], including Upstream collection, a mass of techniques used by the Agency to collect and store American’s data/communications directly from the Internet backbone.[85]

Under programs like PRISM, the NSA paid billions of dollars to telecommunications companies in order to collect data from them.[86] While companies such as Google and Yahoo! claim that they do not provide “direct access” from their servers to the NSA unless under a court order,[87] the NSA had access to emails, phone calls and cellular data users.[88] Under this new ruling, telecommunications companies maintain bulk user metadata on their servers for at least 18 months, to be provided upon request to the NSA.[83] This ruling made the mass storage of specific phone records at NSA datacenters illegal, but it did not rule on Section 215’s constitutionality.[83]

In a declassified document it was revealed that 17,835 phone lines were on an improperly permitted “alert list” from 2006 to 2009 in breach of compliance, which tagged these phone lines for daily monitoring.[89][90][91] Eleven percent of these monitored phone lines met the agency’s legal standard for “reasonably articulable suspicion” (RAS).[89][92] The NSA tracks the locations of hundreds of millions of cellphones per day, allowing it to map people’s movements and relationships in detail.[93] The NSA has been reported to have access to all communications made via Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, AOL, Skype, Apple and Paltalk,[94] and collects hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal email and instant messaging accounts each year.[95] It has also managed to weaken much of the encryption used on the Internet (by collaborating with, coercing or otherwise infiltrating numerous technology companies to leave “backdoors” into their systems), so that the majority of encryption is inadverently vulnerable to different forms of attack.[96][97]

Domestically, the NSA has been proven to collect and store metadata records of phone calls,[98] including over 120 million US Verizon subscribers,[99] as well as intercept vast amounts of communications via the internet (Upstream).[94] The government’s legal standing had been to rely on a secret interpretation of the Patriot Act whereby the entirety of US communications may be considered “relevant” to a terrorism investigation if it is expected that even a tiny minority may relate to terrorism.[100] The NSA also supplies foreign intercepts to the DEA, IRS and other law enforcement agencies, who use these to initiate criminal investigations. Federal agents are then instructed to “recreate” the investigative trail via parallel construction.[101]

The NSA also spies on influential Muslims to obtain information that could be used to discredit them, such as their use of pornography. The targets, both domestic and abroad, are not suspected of any crime but hold religious or political views deemed “radical” by the NSA.[102]

According to a report in The Washington Post in July 2014, relying on information provided by Snowden, 90% of those placed under surveillance in the U.S. are ordinary Americans, and are not the intended targets. The newspaper said it had examined documents including emails, text messages, and online accounts that support the claim.[103]

Despite White House claims that these programs have congressional oversight, many members of Congress were unaware of the existence of these NSA programs or the secret interpretation of the Patriot Act, and have consistently been denied access to basic information about them.[104] The United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the secret court charged with regulating the NSA’s activities is, according to its chief judge, incapable of investigating or verifying how often the NSA breaks even its own secret rules.[105] It has since been reported that the NSA violated its own rules on data access thousands of times a year, many of these violations involving large-scale data interceptions.[106] NSA officers have even used data intercepts to spy on love interests;[107] “most of the NSA violations were self-reported, and each instance resulted in administrative action of termination.”[108]

The NSA has “generally disregarded the special rules for disseminating United States person information” by illegally sharing its intercepts with other law enforcement agencies.[109] A March 2009 FISA Court opinion, which the court released, states that protocols restricting data queries had been “so frequently and systemically violated that it can be fairly said that this critical element of the overall … regime has never functioned effectively.”[110][111] In 2011 the same court noted that the “volume and nature” of the NSA’s bulk foreign Internet intercepts was “fundamentally different from what the court had been led to believe”.[109] Email contact lists (including those of US citizens) are collected at numerous foreign locations to work around the illegality of doing so on US soil.[95]

Legal opinions on the NSA’s bulk collection program have differed. In mid-December 2013, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled that the “almost-Orwellian” program likely violates the Constitution, and wrote, “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval. Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment. Indeed, I have little doubt that the author of our Constitution, James Madison, who cautioned us to beware ‘the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power,’ would be aghast.”[112]

Later that month, U.S. District Judge William Pauley ruled that the NSA’s collection of telephone records is legal and valuable in the fight against terrorism. In his opinion, he wrote, “a bulk telephony metadata collection program [is] a wide net that could find and isolate gossamer contacts among suspected terrorists in an ocean of seemingly disconnected data” and noted that a similar collection of data prior to 9/11 might have prevented the attack.[113]

At a March 2013 Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Senator Ron Wyden asked Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, “does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Clapper replied “No, sir. … Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect, but not wittingly.”[114] This statement came under scrutiny months later, in June 2013, details of the PRISM surveillance program were published, showing that “the NSA apparently can gain access to the servers of nine Internet companies for a wide range of digital data.”[114] Wyden said that Clapper had failed to give a “straight answer” in his testimony. Clapper, in response to criticism, said, “I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful manner.” Clapper added, “There are honest differences on the semantics of what — when someone says collection to me, that has a specific meaning, which may have a different meaning to him.”[114]

NSA whistler-blower Edward Snowden additionally revealed the existence of XKeyscore, a top secret NSA program that allows the agency to search vast databases of “the metadata as well as the content of emails and other internet activity, such as browser history,” with capability to search by “name, telephone number, IP address, keywords, the language in which the internet activity was conducted or the type of browser used.”[115] XKeyscore “provides the technological capability, if not the legal authority, to target even US persons for extensive electronic surveillance without a warrant provided that some identifying information, such as their email or IP address, is known to the analyst.”[115]

Regarding the necessity of these NSA programs, Alexander stated on June 27 that the NSA’s bulk phone and Internet intercepts had been instrumental in preventing 54 terrorist “events”, including 13 in the US, and in all but one of these cases had provided the initial tip to “unravel the threat stream”.[116] On July 31 NSA Deputy Director John Inglis conceded to the Senate that these intercepts had not been vital in stopping any terrorist attacks, but were “close” to vital in identifying and convicting four San Diego men for sending US$8,930 to Al-Shabaab, a militia that conducts terrorism in Somalia.[117][118][119]

The U.S. government has aggressively sought to dismiss and challenge Fourth Amendment cases raised against it, and has granted retroactive immunity to ISPs and telecoms participating in domestic surveillance.[120][121] The U.S. military has acknowledged blocking access to parts of The Guardian website for thousands of defense personnel across the country,[122][123] and blocking the entire Guardian website for personnel stationed throughout Afghanistan, the Middle East, and South Asia.[124]

An October 2014 United Nations report condemned mass surveillance by the United States and other countries as violating multiple international treaties and conventions that guarantee core privacy rights.[125]

The Wikimedia Foundation and several other plaintiffs filed suit against the NSA in 2015, Wikimedia Foundation v. NSA, for the violation of their user’s First and Fourth Amendement rights by the Agency’s mass surveillance programs like Upstream.[126] The suit was initially dismissed, but was later found to have plausible and legal standing to its complaints by the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and was remanded. The case is currently awaiting further proceedings at the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.[127]

An exploit, EternalBlue, which is believed to have been created by the NSA, was used in the unprecedented worldwide WannaCry ransomware attack in May 2017. The exploit had been leaked online by a hacking group, The Shadow Brokers, nearly a month prior to the attack. A number of experts have pointed the finger at the NSA’s non-disclosure of the underlying vulnerability, and their loss of control over the EternalBlue attack tool that exploited it. Edward Snowden said that if the NSA had “privately disclosed the flaw used to attack hospitals when they found it, not when they lost it, [the attack] might not have happened”.[128] Wikipedia co-founder, Jimmy Wales, stated that he joined “with Microsoft and the other leaders of the industry in saying this is a huge screw-up by the government … the moment the NSA found it, they should have notified Microsoft so they could quietly issue a patch and really chivvy people along, long before it became a huge problem.”[129]

Operations by the National Security Agency can be divided in three types:

CAPRI OS is a National Security Agency codename for a project that is sent SSH and SSL intercepts for post-processing.[130]

“Echelon” was created in the incubator of the Cold War.[131] Today it is a legacy system, and several NSA stations are closing.[132]

NSA/CSS, in combination with the equivalent agencies in the United Kingdom (Government Communications Headquarters), Canada (Communications Security Establishment), Australia (Defence Signals Directorate), and New Zealand (Government Communications Security Bureau), otherwise known as the UKUSA group,[133] was reported to be in command of the operation of the so-called ECHELON system. Its capabilities were suspected to include the ability to monitor a large proportion of the world’s transmitted civilian telephone, fax and data traffic.[134]

During the early 1970s, the first of what became more than eight large satellite communications dishes were installed at Menwith Hill.[135] Investigative journalist Duncan Campbell reported in 1988 on the “ECHELON” surveillance program, an extension of the UKUSA Agreement on global signals intelligence SIGINT, and detailed how the eavesdropping operations worked.[136] In November 3, 1999 the BBC reported that they had confirmation from the Australian Government of the existence of a powerful “global spying network” code-named Echelon, that could “eavesdrop on every single phone call, fax or e-mail, anywhere on the planet” with Britain and the United States as the chief protagonists. They confirmed that Menwith Hill was “linked directly to the headquarters of the US National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort Meade in Maryland”.[137]

NSA’s United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18 (USSID 18) strictly prohibited the interception or collection of information about “… U.S. persons, entities, corporations or organizations….” without explicit written legal permission from the United States Attorney General when the subject is located abroad, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court when within U.S. borders. Alleged Echelon-related activities, including its use for motives other than national security, including political and industrial espionage, received criticism from countries outside the UKUSA alliance.[138][139]

The NSA was also involved in planning to blackmail people with “SEXINT”, intelligence gained about a potential target’s sexual activity and preferences. Those targeted had not committed any apparent crime nor were they charged with one.[140]

In order to support its facial recognition program, the NSA is intercepting “millions of images per day”.[141]

The Real Time Regional Gateway is a data collection program introduced in 2005 in Iraq by NSA during the Iraq War that consisted of gathering all electronic communication, storing it, then searching and otherwise analyzing it. It was effective in providing information about Iraqi insurgents who had eluded less comprehensive techniques.[142] This “collect it all” strategy introduced by NSA director, Keith B. Alexander, is believed by Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian to be the model for the comprehensive worldwide mass archiving of communications which NSA is engaged in as of 2013.[143]

Edward Snowden revealed in June 2013 that between February 8 and March 8, 2013, the NSA collected about 124.8billion telephone data items and 97.1billion computer data items throughout the world, as was displayed in charts from an internal NSA tool codenamed Boundless Informant. It was reported that some of these data reflected eavesdropping on citizens in countries like Germany, Spain and France.[144]

BoundlessInformant employs big data databases, cloud computing technology, and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to analyze data collected worldwide by the NSA.[145]

In 2013, reporters uncovered a secret memo that claims the NSA created and pushed for the adoption of the Dual EC DRBG encryption standard that contained built-in vulnerabilities in 2006 to the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the International Organization for Standardization (aka ISO).[146][147] This memo appears to give credence to previous speculation by cryptographers at Microsoft Research.[148]Edward Snowden claims that the NSA often bypasses encryption altogether by lifting information before it is encrypted or after it is decrypted.[147]

XKeyscore rules (as specified in a file xkeyscorerules100.txt, sourced by German TV stations NDR and WDR, who claim to have excerpts from its source code) reveal that the NSA tracks users of privacy-enhancing software tools, including Tor; an anonymous email service provided by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and readers of the Linux Journal.[149][150]

Linus Torvalds, the founder of Linux kernel, joked during a LinuxCon keynote on September 18, 2013, that the NSA, who are the founder of SELinux, wanted a backdoor in the kernel.[151] However, later, Linus’ father, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), revealed that the NSA actually did this.[152]

When my oldest son was asked the same question: “Has he been approached by the NSA about backdoors?” he said “No”, but at the same time he nodded. Then he was sort of in the legal free. He had given the right answer, everybody understood that the NSA had approached him.

IBM Notes was the first widely adopted software product to use public key cryptography for clientserver and serverserver authentication and for encryption of data. Until US laws regulating encryption were changed in 2000, IBM and Lotus were prohibited from exporting versions of Notes that supported symmetric encryption keys that were longer than 40 bits. In 1997, Lotus negotiated an agreement with the NSA that allowed export of a version that supported stronger keys with 64 bits, but 24 of the bits were encrypted with a special key and included in the message to provide a “workload reduction factor” for the NSA. This strengthened the protection for users of Notes outside the US against private-sector industrial espionage, but not against spying by the US government.[154][155]

While it is assumed that foreign transmissions terminating in the U.S. (such as a non-U.S. citizen accessing a U.S. website) subject non-U.S. citizens to NSA surveillance, recent research into boomerang routing has raised new concerns about the NSA’s ability to surveil the domestic Internet traffic of foreign countries.[18] Boomerang routing occurs when an Internet transmission that originates and terminates in a single country transits another. Research at the University of Toronto has suggested that approximately 25% of Canadian domestic traffic may be subject to NSA surveillance activities as a result of the boomerang routing of Canadian Internet service providers.[18]

Intercepted packages are opened carefully by NSA employees

A “load station” implanting a beacon

A document included in NSA files released with Glenn Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide details how the agency’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) and other NSA units gain access to hardware. They intercept routers, servers and other network hardware being shipped to organizations targeted for surveillance and install covert implant firmware onto them before they are delivered. This was described by an NSA manager as “some of the most productive operations in TAO because they preposition access points into hard target networks around the world.”[156]

Computers seized by the NSA due to interdiction are often modified with a physical device known as Cottonmouth.[157] Cottonmouth is a device that can be inserted in the USB port of a computer in order to establish remote access to the targeted machine. According to NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group implant catalog, after implanting Cottonmouth, the NSA can establish Bridging (networking) “that allows the NSA to load exploit software onto modified computers as well as allowing the NSA to relay commands and data between hardware and software implants.”[158]

NSA’s mission, as set forth in Executive Order 12333 in 1981, is to collect information that constitutes “foreign intelligence or counterintelligence” while not “acquiring information concerning the domestic activities of United States persons”. NSA has declared that it relies on the FBI to collect information on foreign intelligence activities within the borders of the United States, while confining its own activities within the United States to the embassies and missions of foreign nations.[159] The appearance of a ‘Domestic Surveillance Directorate’ of the NSA was soon exposed as a hoax in 2013.[160][161]

NSA’s domestic surveillance activities are limited by the requirements imposed by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for example held in October 2011, citing multiple Supreme Court precedents, that the Fourth Amendment prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures applies to the contents of all communications, whatever the means, because “a person’s private communications are akin to personal papers.”[162] However, these protections do not apply to non-U.S. persons located outside of U.S. borders, so the NSA’s foreign surveillance efforts are subject to far fewer limitations under U.S. law.[163] The specific requirements for domestic surveillance operations are contained in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), which does not extend protection to non-U.S. citizens located outside of U.S. territory.[163]

George W. Bush, president during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, approved the Patriot Act shortly after the attacks to take anti-terrorist security measures. Title 1, 2, and 9 specifically authorized measures that would be taken by the NSA. These titles granted enhanced domestic security against terrorism, surveillance procedures, and improved intelligence, respectively. On March 10, 2004, there was a debate between President Bush and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and Acting Attorney General James Comey. The Attorney Generals were unsure if the NSA’s programs could be considered constitutional. They threatened to resign over the matter, but ultimately the NSA’s programs continued.[164] On March 11, 2004, President Bush signed a new authorization for mass surveillance of Internet records, in addition to the surveillance of phone records. This allowed the president to be able to override laws such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which protected civilians from mass surveillance. In addition to this, President Bush also signed that the measures of mass surveillance were also retroactively in place.[165]

Under the PRISM program, which started in 2007,[166][167] NSA gathers Internet communications from foreign targets from nine major U.S. Internet-based communication service providers: Microsoft,[168]Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple. Data gathered include email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, VoIP chats such as Skype, and file transfers.

In June 2015, Wikileaks published documents, which showed that NSA spied on French companies.[169]

In July 2015, WikiLeaks published documents, which showed that NSA spied on federal German ministries since 1990s.[170][171] Even Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphones and phone of her predecessors had been intercepted.[172]

Former NSA director General Keith Alexander claimed that in September 2009 the NSA prevented Najibullah Zazi and his friends from carrying out a terrorist attack.[173] However, this claim has been debunked and no evidence has been presented demonstrating that the NSA has ever been instrumental in preventing a terrorist attack.[174][175][176][177]

Besides the more traditional ways of eavesdropping in order to collect signals intelligence, NSA is also engaged in hacking computers, smartphones and their networks. These operations are conducted by the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division.

According to the Foreign Policy magazine, “… the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, has successfully penetrated Chinese computer and telecommunications systems for almost 15 years, generating some of the best and most reliable intelligence information about what is going on inside the People’s Republic of China.”[178][179]

In an interview with Wired magazine, Edward Snowden said the Tailored Access Operations division accidentally caused Syria’s internet blackout in 2012.[180]

The NSA is led by the Director of the National Security Agency (DIRNSA), who also serves as Chief of the Central Security Service (CHCSS) and Commander of the United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) and is the highest-ranking military official of these organizations. He is assisted by a Deputy Director, who is the highest-ranking civilian within the NSA/CSS.

NSA also has an Inspector General, head of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), a General Counsel, head of the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and a Director of Compliance, who is head of the Office of the Director of Compliance (ODOC).[181]

Unlike other intelligence organizations such as CIA or DIA, NSA has always been particularly reticent concerning its internal organizational structure.

As of the mid-1990s, the National Security Agency was organized into five Directorates:

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National Security Agency – Wikipedia

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National Speakers Association (NSA) | Where professional …

NSA provides professional speakers with the comprehensive resources, mentoring and professional connections they need to become more efficient and more effective in all aspects of their trade. Our 3,400+ members reach audiences as thought leaders, authors, consultants, coaches, trainers, educators, humorists, and motivators. Anyone who uses the spoken word to impact listeners can benefit from NSA membership.

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NSA Tournaments – NSA Florida Fastpitch

N S A SUMMER SLAM 2017 FISH HAWK LITHIA 2017-08-26 2017-08-27 8U – 18U NSA BATTLE OF THE BATS LEGENDS WAY BALLFIELDS NTC CLERMONT 2017-08-26 2017-08-27 8U-18U NSA IRON WOMAN CLASSIC MINIMUM OF 5 GAMES SEMINOLE COUNTY SOFTBALL COMPLEX ALTAMONTE SPRINGS 2017-09-02 2017-09-03 8U-18U N S A LABOR DAY IRONWOMAN – 3 SEED INTO DBL. ELIM. 2017 EDDIE C MOORE CLEARWATER 2017-09-02 2017-09-03 8U – 18U LETS GET READY TO RUMBLE HANCOCK PARK CLERMONT 2017-09-09 2017-09-10 8U-18U N S A QUEEN OF THE DIAMONDS 2017 NEW TAMPA COMM. TAMPA 2017-09-09 2017-09-10 8U – 18U NSA SEPTEMBER SLAM COMMUNITY PARK WEST PALM BEACH 2017-09-09 2017-09-10 8U-18U N S A KING OF THE HILL- 2 SEED INTO DLB ELIM EDDIE C MOORE CLEARWATER 2017-09-16 2017-09-17 8U – 18U NSA DOUBLE DOUBLE LEGENDS WAY BALLFIELDS NTC CLERMONT 2017-09-16 2017-09-17 8U-18U NSA DOUBLE DOUBLE AT THE BEACH CITY CENTER PARK PORT ORANGE 2017-09-16 2017-09-17 8U-18U N S A POLK IRON WOMAN- 3 SEED INTO DLBD ELIM CHRISTINA PARK LAKELAND 2017-09-23 2017-09-24 8U – 18U NSA GRIP IT AND RIP IT CHAIN OF LAKES TITUSVILLE 2017-09-23 2017-09-24 8U-18U NSA LOUISVILLE SLUGGER FALL CHAMPIONSHIPS LEGENDS WAY BALLFIELDS NTC CLERMONT 2017-09-30 2017-10-01 8U-18U N S A BATTLE OF THE BUCK #1 WIN $1000 ! ! ! ! 2017 NEW TAMPA COMM. TAMPA 2017-10-07 2017-10-08 8U – 18U NSA FALL FRENZY COMMUNITY PARK WEST PALM BEACH 2017-10-07 2017-10-08 8U-18U NSA STRIKE OUT CANCER AWARENESS TOURNAMENT ORMOND BEACH SPORTS COMPLEX ORMOND BEACH 2017-10-07 2017-10-08 8U-18U NSA BEAT CANCER WITH A BAT AWARENESS TOURNAMENT HANCOCK PARK CLERMONT 2017-10-14 2017-10-15 8U-18U ST LEO REVERSE EXPOSURE INVITATIONAL 2017 Eddie C. Moore Clearwater 2017-10-14 2017-10-15 8U – 18U ST LEO/N S A REP THE ROAR TOURNAMENT EDDIE C MOORE MADIERA BEACH CLEARWATERMADIERA 2017-10-14 2017-10-15 8U – 18U MICHELE SMITH COLLEGE SHOWCASE 2017 EDDIE C MOORE MADIERA BEACH CLEARWATERMADIERA 2017-10-21 2017-10-22 8U – 18U MICHELE SMITH SOFTBALL FOR HEARTS 2017 EDDIE C MOORE MADIERA BEACH CLEARWATERMADIERA 2017-10-21 2017-10-22 8U – 18U NSA MIZUNO FALL CHAMPIONSHIPS 2 GAME SEED INTO DOUBLE ELIM LEGENDS WAY BALLFIELDS CLERMONT 2017-10-21 2017-10-22 8U-18U N S A BOMBERWEEN – COSTUME CONTEST 2017 EDDIE C MOORE CLEARWATER 2017-10-28 2017-10-29 8U – 18U NSA SPOOKTACULAR LEGENDS WAY BALLFIELDS NTC CLERMONT 2017-10-28 2017-10-29 8U-18U NSA SPOOKTACULAR AT THE BEACH CITY CENTER PARK PORT ORANGE 2017-10-28 2017-10-29 8U-18U 8th ANNUAL PITCH FOR THE CURE 2017 CLEARWATER AND MADIERA CLEARWATERMADIERA 2017-11-04 2017-11-05 8U – 18U NSA SOUTH FLORIDA FALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS COMMUNTIY PARK WEST PALM BEACH 2017-11-04 2017-11-05 8U-18U NSA STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER ORMOND BEACH SPORTS COMPLEX ORMOND BEACH 2017-11-04 2017-11-05 8U-18U N S A FALL BRAWL 2017 Multiple Venues Polk County 2017-11-11 2017-11-12 8U – 18U NSA VETERANS DAY CLASSIC HANCOCK PARK CLERMONT 2017-11-11 2017-11-12 8U-18U BATTERBALL TURKEYFEST DOUBLE – DOUBLE 2017 EDDIE C MOORE CLEARWATER 2017-11-18 2017-11-19 8U – 18U NSA BATTLE AT THE BEACH IN BEAUTIFUL PORT ORANGE CITY CENTER PARK PORT ORANGE 2017-11-18 2017-11-19 8U-18U NSA KNOCK HUNGER OUT OF THE PARK LEGENDS WAY BALLFIELDS NTC CLERMONT 2017-11-18 2017-11-19 8U-18U N S A THANKSGIVING PICKEM– PLAY 1 OR 2 DAYS 2017 NEW TAMPA COMM. NEW TAMPA 2017-11-25 2017-11-26 8U – 18U N S A TOYS FOR THE TOTS #1 Fishhawk LITHIA 2017-12-02 2017-12-03 8U – 18U NSA TOYS FOR TOTS LEGENDS WAY BALLFIELDS NTC CLERMONT 2017-12-02 2017-12-03 8U-18U N S A FALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIP 2017 Multiple Venues Polk County 2017-12-09 2017-12-10 8U – 18U NSA TOYS FOR VETERANS COMMUNITY PARK WEST PALM BEACH 2017-12-09 2017-12-10 8U-18U N S A TOYS FOR THE TOTS #2 2017 NEW TAMPA COMM. TAMPA 2017-12-16 2017-12-17 8U – 18U NSA TOYS FOR TOTS AT THE BEACH CITY CENTER PARK PORT ORANGE 2017-12-16 2017-12-17 8U-18U

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Major Leak Suggests NSA Was Deep in Middle East … – WIRED

A woman walks past a branch of Noor Islamic Bank along Khalid Bin Al-Waleed Road in Dubai.

Reuters

For eight months, the hacker group known as Shadow Brokers has trickled out an intermittent drip of highly classified NSA data. Now, just when it seemed like that trove of secrets might be exhausted, the group has spilled a new batch. The latest dump appears to show that the NSA has penetrated deep into the finance infrastructure of the Middle Easta revelation that could create new scandals for the worlds most well-resourced spy agency.

Friday morning, the Shadow Brokers published documents thatif legitimateshow just how thoroughly US intelligence has compromised elements of the global banking system. The new leak includes evidence that the NSA hacked into EastNets, a Dubai-based firm that oversees payments in the global SWIFT transaction system for dozens of client banks and other firms, particularly in the Middle East. The leak includes detailed lists of hacked or potentially targeted computers, including those belonging to firms in Qatar, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Syria, Yemen, and the Palestinian territories. Also included in the data dump, as in previous Shadow Brokers releases, are a load of fresh hacking tools, this time targeting a slew of Windows versions.

“Oh you thought that was it?” the hacker group wrote in a typically grammar-challenged statement accompanying their leak. There was speculation prior to this morning’s release that the group had finally published its full set of stolen documents, after a seemingly failed attempt to auction them for bitcoins. “Too bad nobody deciding to be paying theshadowbrokers for just to shutup and going away.”

The transaction protocol SWIFT has been increasingly targeted by hackers seeking to redirect millions of dollars from banks around the world, with recent efforts in India, Ecuador, and Bangladesh. Security researchers have even pointed to clues that a $81 million Bangladesh bank theft via SWIFT may have been the work of the North Korean government . But the Shadow Brokers’ latest leak offers new evidence that the NSA has also compromised SWIFT, albeit most likely for silent espionage rather than wholesale larceny.

Andy Greenberg

The Shadow Brokers Mess Is What Happens When the NSA Hoards Zero-Days

Lily Hay Newman

WikiLeaks Just Dumped a Mega-Trove of CIA Hacking Secrets

Andy Greenberg

How the CIA Can Hack Your Phone, PC, and TV (Says WikiLeaks)

EastNets has denied that it was hacked, writing on its Twitter account that there’s “no credibility to the online claim of a compromise of EastNets customer information on its SWIFT service bureau.” But the Shadow Brokers’ leak seems to suggest otherwise: One spreadsheet in the release, for instance, lists computers by IP address, along with corresponding firms in the finance industry and beyond, including the Qatar First Investment Bank, Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation Bahrain, Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange, Tadhamon International Islamic Bank, Noor Islamic Bank, Kuwait Petroleum Company, Qatar Telecom and others. A “legend” at the top of the spreadsheet notes that the 16 highlighted IP addresses mean, “box has been implanted and we are collecting.” That NSA jargon translates to a computer being successfully infected with its spyware. 1

Those IP addresses don’t actually correspond to the client’s computers, says Dubai-based security researcher Matt Suiche, but rather to computers servicing those clients at EastNets, which is one of 120 “service bureaus” that form a portion of the SWIFT network and make transactions on behalf of customers. “This is the equivalent of hacking all the banks in the region without having to hack them individually,” says Suiche, founder of UAE-based incident response and forensics startup Comae Technologies. “You have access to all their transactions.”

While the Shadow Brokers’ releases have already included NSA exploits, today’s leak is the first indication of targets of that sophisticated hacking in the global banking system. Unlike previous known hacks of the SWIFT financial network, nothing in the leaked documents suggests that the NSA used its access to EastNets’ SWIFT systems to actual alter transactions or steal funds. Instead, stealthily tracking the transactions within that network may have given the agency visibility into money flows in the regionincluding to potential terrorist, extremist, or insurgent groups.

If that sort of finance-focused espionage was in fact the NSA’s goal, it would hardly deviate from the agency’s core mission. But Suiche points out that confirmation of the operation would nonetheless lead to blowback for the NSA and the US governmentparticularly given that many of the listed targets are in US-friendly countries like Dubai and Qatar. “A big shitstorm is to come,” says Suiche. “You can expect the leadership of key organizations like banks and governments are going to be quite irritated, and theyre going to react.”

Beyond EastNets alone, Suiche points to references in the files to targeting the Panama-based firm Business Computer Group or BCG, although it’s not clear if the firm was actually compromised. Beyond its Twitter statement, EastNets didn’t respond to WIRED’s request for comment. WIRED also reached out to BCG and the NSA, but didn’t get a response.

SWIFT aside, the leak also contains a cornucopia of NSA hacking tools or “exploits,” including what appear to be previously secret techniques for hacking PCs and servers running Windows. Matthew Hickey, the founder of the security firm Hacker House, analyzed the collection and believes there are more than 20 distinct exploits in the leak, about 15 of which are included in an automated hacking “framework” tool called FuzzBunch.

This is as big as it gets.

Matthew Hickey, Hacker House

The attacks seem to target every recent version of Windows other than Windows 10, and several allow a remote hacker to gain the full ability to run their own code on a target machine. “There are exploits here that are quite likely zero days that will let you hack into any number of servers on the internet,” says Hickey. “This is as big as it gets. Its internet God mode.”

In a statement to WIRED, however, a Microsoft spokesperson wrote that the company had previously patched all the vulnerabilities in Windows that the hacking tools exploited. “We’ve investigated and confirmed that the exploits disclosed by the Shadow Brokers have already been addressed by previous updates to our supported products,” the statement reads. In a blog post, the company clarified that several of the exploits do still work, but only on versions of Windows prior to Windows 7. 2

But the Shadow Brokers hinted in their release that they’re not done creating trouble for the NSA yet. “Maybe if all suviving [sic] WWIII theshadowbrokers be seeing you next week,” the group’s message concludes. “Who knows what we having next time?”

1 Updated 4/14/2017 12:15 EST to include comments from EastNets.

2 Updated 4/15/2017 3:50 EST to include a response from Microsoft.

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Major Leak Suggests NSA Was Deep in Middle East … – WIRED

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What the Announced NSA / Cyber Command Split Means

The move to elevate Cyber Command to a full Unified Combatant Command and split it off from the National Security Agencyshows that cyber intelligence collection and information war are rapidly diverging fields. The future leadership of both entities is now in question, but the Pentagon has set out a conditions-based approach to the breakup. That represents a partial victory for the man who directs both Cyber Command and the NSA.

The move would mean that the head of Cyber Command would answer directly to the Defense Secretary and the National Security Agency would get its own head. Its a move that many have said is long overdue, and its exact timing remains unknown. So what does the split mean for the Pentagon, for Cyber Command, and for the future of U.S. cyber security?

The split will give the commander of Cyber Command central authority over resource allocation, training, operational planning and mission execution. The commander will answer to the Defense secretary directly, not the head of Strategic Command. The decision means that Cyber Command will play an even more strategic role in synchronizing cyber forces and training, conducting and coordinating military cyberforce operations and advocating for and prioritizing cyber investments within the department, said Kenneth Rapuano, assistant defense secretary for Homeland Defense and Global Security.

The Start of a Process

The move announced on Friday fulfills a mandate in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017. Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter hinted at the split back in May 2016. But it wont happen immediately.

Instead, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford will nominate a flag officer to take over the new Cyber Command as well as the NSA. That person could be Adm. Michael Rogers, who currently heads both, or someone else. Trump has reportedly asked Mattis to give him the name of a nominee.Speculation has focused on Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville as the nominee to head Cyber Command.

Once that new person is nominated and confirmed and once Mattis and Dunford are satisfied that splitting the two entities will not hamper the ability of either Cyber Command or the NSA to conduct their missions independently, only then will Cyber Command and the NSA actually split.

What Does it Mean for Leadership?

Read one way, the announcement means Rogers will lose power. Even were he to become the nominee to the new elevated Cyber Command, he would still wind up losing the NSA eventually. If he were to stay on as head of NSA after the confirmation of a new Cyber Command head, as expected, he would briefly serve under Mayville until the formal split.

Read another way, the lack of a concrete timetable for the split, despite such a requirement in the authorization bill, represents a partial win for Rogers.

Rogers took over the NSA and Cyber Command in the spring of 2014. He has been resistant to the idea of a split, telling lawmakers in September that U.S. national security benefitted from the dual-hat arrangement. This view was not shared by then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper nor then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter. Rogers resistance was one of many issues that rubbed them the wrong way.

It got so bad that in November, unnamed sources told The Washington Post that Clapper and Carter were urging President Barack Obama to fire Rogers.

The truth is a bit more nuanced. Clappers goal was to split the NSA from CyberCom. He was not a strong advocate of removal, but was willing to defer to [the Secretary of Defense] if Carter felt strongly about selecting new leadership at Cyber Command, a source inside the intelligence community said. There were other concerns unrelated to the potential split.

Rogers outlasted both Clapper, who had long planned to retire at the end of the Obama administration; and Carter, a political appointee. Rogers attitude toward an NSA-Cyber Command split evolved. In May, he testified that he would support a split was done in a way that did not hamper either the NSA or Cyber Command.

The manner in which the split was announced is in keeping with what Rogers has said he wanted.

The move toward a conditions-based split also met with the approval of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, a longtime Rogers ally. I appreciate the administrations commitment today to ensuring that a future separation of the so-called dual hat relationship between Cyber Command and the National Security Agency will be based on conditions, rather than arbitrary political timelines, McCain said in a statement. While Cyber Command and the National Security Agency should eventually be able to operate independent of one another, the administration must work closely with the Congress to take the necessary steps that will make this separation of responsibilities successful, and to ensure that each agency will emerge more effective and more capable as a result.

What It Means for Cyber Command, the NSA, and Cyber Operations

The elevation of Cyber Command represents a big step forward for the militarys cyber ability, but it has yet to be catch up to the NSA in terms of collecting signals intelligence or creating network accesses, according to Bill Leigher, who as a rear admiral helped stand up Navy Fleet Cyber Command. Leigher, who now directs government cyber solutions for Raytheon, applauds the split because the NSA, which collects foreign intelligence, and Cyber Command, a warfighting outfit, have fundamentally different missions.This caused tension between the two organizations under one roof. Information collected for intelligence gathering may be useful in a way thats fundamentally different from intelligence for military purposes, he says. If you collecting intelligence, its foreign espionage. You dont want to get caught. The measure of success is: collect intelligence and dont get caught. If youre going to war, I would argue that the measure of performance is what we do has to have the characteristics of a legal weapon in the context of war and the commander has to know what he or she uses it.

This puts the agencies in disagreement about how to use intel and tools that they share. From an NSA perspective, cyber really is about gaining access to networks. From aCyber Command point of view, I would argue, its about every piece of software on the battlefield and having the means to prevent that software from working the way it was intended to work [for the adversary], he said.

The split will allow the agencies to pursue the very different tools, operations, and rules each of their missions requires, he said. Expect NSA to intensify its focus on developing access for intelligence, and Cyber Command to prepare to rapidly deploy massive cyber effects at scale during military operations and shut down the enemy. Both of this will likely leverage next-generation artificial intelligence but in very different ways said Leigher.

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NSA Spying | Electronic Frontier Foundation

The US government, with assistance from major telecommunications carriers including AT&T, has engaged in massive, illegal dragnet surveillance of the domestic communications and communications records of millions of ordinary Americans since at least 2001. Since this was first reported on by the press and discovered by the public in late 2005, EFF has been at the forefront of the effort to stop it and bring government surveillance programs back within the law and the Constitution.

History of NSA Spying Information since 2005 (See EFFs full timeline of events here)

News reports in December 2005 first revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been intercepting Americans phone calls and Internet communications. Those news reports, combined with a USA Today story in May 2006 and the statements of several members of Congress, revealed that the NSA is also receiving wholesale copies of American’s telephone and other communications records. All of these surveillance activities are in violation of the privacy safeguards established by Congress and the US Constitution.

In early 2006, EFF obtained whistleblower evidence (.pdf) from former AT&T technician Mark Klein showing that AT&T is cooperating with the illegal surveillance. The undisputed documents show that AT&T installed a fiberoptic splitter at its facility at 611 Folsom Street in San Francisco that makes copies of all emails web browsing and other Internet traffic to and from AT&T customers and provides those copies to the NSA. This copying includes both domestic and international Internet activities of AT&T customers. As one expert observed, this isnt a wiretap, its a country-tap.

Secret government documents, published by the media in 2013, confirm the NSA obtains full copies of everything that is carried along major domestic fiber optic cable networks. In June 2013, the media, led by the Guardian and Washington Post started publishing a series of articles, along with full government documents, that have confirmed much of what was reported in 2005 and 2006 and then some. The reports showed-and the government later admittedthat the government is mass collecting phone metadata of all US customers under the guise of the Patriot Act. Moreover, the media reports confirm that the government is collecting and analyzing the content of communications of foreigners talking to persons inside the United States, as well as collecting much more, without a probable cause warrant. Finally, the media reports confirm the upstream collection off of the fiberoptic cables that Mr. Klein first revealed in 2006. (See EFFs How It Works page here for more)

EFF Fights Back in the Courts

EFF is fighting these illegal activities in the courts. Currently, EFF is representing victims of the illegal surveillance program in Jewel v. NSA,a lawsuit filed in September 2008 seeking to stop the warrantless wiretapping and hold the government and government officials behind the program accountable. In July 2013, a federal judge ruled that the government could not rely on the controversial “state secrets” privilege to block our challenge to the constitutionality of the program. On February 10, 2015, however, the court granted summary judgment to the government on the Plaintiffs allegations of Fourth Amendment violations based on the NSAs copying of Internet traffic from the Internet backbone. The court ruled that the publicly available information did not paint a complete picture of how the NSA collects Internet traffic, so the court could not rule on the program without looking at information that could constitute state secrets. The court did not rule that the NSAs activities are legal, nor did it rule on the other claims in Jewel, and the case will go forward on those claims.This case is being heard in conjunction with Shubert v. Obama, which raises similar claims.

In July, 2013, EFF filed another lawsuit, First Unitarian v. NSA, based on the recently published FISA court order demanding Verizon turn over all customer phone records including who is talking to whom, when and for how longto the NSA. This so-called metadata, especially when collected in bulk and aggregated, allows the government to track the associations of various political and religious organizations. The Director of National Intelligence has since confirmed that the collection of Verizon call records is part of a broader program.

In addition to making the same arguments we made in Jewel, we argue in First Unitarian that this type of collection violates the First Amendment right to association. Previously, in Hepting v. AT&T,EFF filed the first case against a cooperating telecom for violating its customers’ privacy. After Congress expressly intervened and passed the FISA Amendments Act to allow the Executive to require dismissal of the case,Hepting was ultimately dismissed by the US Supreme Court.

In September of 2014, EFF, along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho, joined the legal team for Anna Smith, an Idaho emergency neonatal nurse, in her challenge of the government’s bulk collection of the telephone records of millions of innocent Americans. In Smith v. Obama, we are arguing the program violated her Fourth Amendment rights by collecting a wealth of detail about her familial, political, professional, religious and intimate associations. In particular, we focus on challenging the applicability of the so-called third party doctrine, the idea that people have no expectation of privacy in information they entrust to others.

First Unitarian v. NSA: EFFs case challenging the NSAs phone metadata surveillance

Jewel v. NSA: EFFs case challenging the NSAs dragnet surveillance

Hepting v. AT&T: EFFs case that challenged AT&Ts complicity in illegal NSA spying

Smith v. Obama: EFF’s appeal with the ACLU of an Idaho nurse’s challenge to the NSA’s phone metadata surveillance.

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NSA Spying | Electronic Frontier Foundation

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NSA | Define NSA at AcronymFinder

NSA National Security Agency (US government) NSA National Speakers Association NSA No Strings Attached NSA Naval Support Activity NSA Network Security Appliance (Sonicwall) NSA Notary Signing Agent NSA National Security Advisor NSA Not Seasonally Adjusted NSA National Security Archive NSA National Security Act NSA National Society of Accountants NSA National Sheriffs’ Association (Alexandria, VA, USA) NSA National Security Affairs NSA No Sugar Added NSA National Stuttering Association NSA National Stroke Association NSA Network Spinal Analysis NSA National Spiritual Assembly (Institution of the Baha’i Faith) NSA Norwegian Shipowners Association NSA North Slope of Alaska NSA National Sheep Association (Malvern, Worcestershire, UK) NSA National Safety Associates NSA National Scrabble Association NSA Non-State Actor (international relations) NSA National Student Association NSA North Star Academy NSA New Saint Andrews College (Moscow, Idaho) NSA National Sunflower Association NSA National Stone Association (Washington, DC) NSA National Stereoscopic Association NSA Negative Security Assurances NSA National Steeplechase Association NSA National Sound Archive NSA National Security Area NSA NATO Standardization Agency NSA National Smokers Alliance NSA Nebraska Statewide Arboretum NSA Negotiated Service Agreement (US postal service) NSA National Security Agents (gaming clan) NSA Non-Standard Analysis NSA National Seniors Australia (est. 1976) NSA Nuclear Science Abstracts NSA Normalized Site Attenuation NSA Nashville School of the Arts (Tennessee) NSA National Storytelling Association NSA National Slag Association (Alexandria, VA) NSA Northern Study Area NSA Navy Support Activity NSA National Skateboard Association NSA Noise Sensitive Area NSA Nikkei Stock Average NSA National Shipping Authority NSA National School of Administration (China) NSA Non-surgical Sperm Aspiration NSA Nunavut Settlement Area NSA New Statistical Account (Reports on the conditions of Scotland, with reports on each parish, in the 1830s) NSA National Supers Agency (fictional from the movie The Incredibles) NSA National Safety Association NSA National Security Anarchists (hacker group) NSA National Sprint Association (UK) NSA Natuurwetenschappelijke Studievereniging Amsterdam (University of Amsterdam Physics Department student organization) NSA Nebraska Soybean Association NSA Naperville Soccer Association NSA No Smoking Area NSA National Softball Association, Inc. NSA Norcross Soccer Association (Georgia) NSA Naval Supervising Activity NSA National Singles Association (Atlanta, Georgia) NSA Navy Stock Account NSA Night Stalker Association NSA National Success Association NSA National Shuffleboard Association NSA National Software Alliance NSA No Significant Abnormalities (disease assessment) NSA Northern Slope of Alaska NSA National Service Alliance, LLC NSA Non Semi Auto (concealed handgun license; Texas) NSA Non Standard Area (of a database) NSA Nantucket Shellfish Association (Nantucket, MA) NSA National Scout Association NSA National Standard Application NSA Narrow-Slot Approximation NSA National Sentinel Audit NSA Node Switching Assembly NSA Net Sales Area NSA Network Search Algorithm NSA Nikkei Student Association NSA Nuclear Support Agency NSA Naval Systems Analysis NSA Nichiren Shosu of America NSA Net Sellable Area (real estate) NSA Network South Australia (Adelaide, Australia) NSA Neutron Source Assembly NSA Net Server Assistant NSA Norwegian Security Act NSA Nabelschnurarterie (German: Umbilical Cord Artery) NSA Narrow Slot Aperture NSA Nikkei Siam Aluminium Limited (Pathumtani, Thailand) NSA New Student Ambassadors (various schools) NSA Nippon Software Industry Association (Japan) NSA Nippon Steel Australia NSA Nippon Supporters Association (Japan) NSA Nippon Surfing Association (Japan) NSA No Secrets Association NSA Non-Self-Aligned NSA Non Standard Ammunition (munitions) NSA Neil Stewart Associates (UK) NSA Network Security Administrator NSA Network Security Agreement NSA Network Simplex Algorithm NSA New Settlement Apartments (New York, NY) NSA New Small Airplane (Boeing) NSA Network Storage Appliance (computing) NSA Network Supported Account (Cisco) NSA Network Systems Administrator (various organizations) NSA Nouvelle Substance Active (French: New Active Substance; Canada) NSA Nordic Securities Association (est. 2008) NSA Non-Standard Auto (insurance) NSA Naczelny Sad Administracyjny (Polish: Supreme Administrative Court) NSA National Scrapbooking Association NSA National Sex Authority NSA National Smokejumper Association NSA National Snow Analyses (US NOAA) NSA Need Special Assistance NSA Natural Systems Agriculture NSA National Supervisory Authority (EU) NSA National Survey of Adolescents NSA Native Speakers of Arabic NSA National Statistical Authorities (EU) NSA National Sports Academy (various locations) NSA National Space Agency

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CIA’s secret spy tool helps agency steal data from NSA & FBI, WikiLeaks reveals – RT

Published time: 24 Aug, 2017 11:29 Edited time: 24 Aug, 2017 17:15

Details of an alleged CIA project that allows the agency to secretly extract biometric data from liaison services such as the NSA, the DHS and the FBI have been published by WikiLeaks.

Documents from the CIAs ExpressLane project were released by the whistleblowing organization as part of its ongoing Vault 7 series on the intelligence agencys alleged hacking capabilities.

Abranchwithin the CIA known as Office of Technical Services (OTS) provides a biometric collection system to liaison services around the world with the expectation for sharing of the biometric takes collected on the systems, according to afilereleased by WikiLeaks.

ExpressLane, however, suggests the system has inadequacies as it was developed as a covert information collection tool to secretly exfiltrate data collections from such systems provided to liaison services.

The user guide for the tool states that it was developed to support the branch in its efforts to verify that this data is also being shared with the agency.

ExpressLane v3.1.1 provides an ability to disable the biometric software if liaison doesnt provide the Agency with continued access.

ExpressLane is installed and run under the guise of upgrading the biometric software by OTS agents that visit the liaison sites.

OTS/i2c plans to revisit these sites with the cover of upgrading the biometric software to perform a collection against the biometric takes, a CIA document outlining test procedures for the project states.

Liaison officers overseeing this procedure will remain unsuspicious, as the data exfiltration is disguised behind a Windows installation splash screen.

ExpressLane was intended to remain secret until 2034, according to the files which originate from 2009.

The core components of the OTS system are based on products from Cross Match a US company specializing in biometric software for law enforcement and the Intelligence Community.

In 2011, it was reported that the US military used one of the companys products to identify Osama bin Laden during the assassination operation in Pakistan.

The White House and Department of Defense said facial recognition technology was one of the techniques used to identify Bin Laden but Cross Matchs involvement was not confirmed.

READ MORE: CIA CouchPotato tool captures video stream images remotely WikiLeaks

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CIA’s secret spy tool helps agency steal data from NSA & FBI, WikiLeaks reveals – RT

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Trump elevates US Cyber Command, exploring split from NSA – CapitalGazette.com

President Donald Trump announced Friday he has directed U.S. Cyber Command to be elevated to a unified combatant command and is exploring separating it from the National Security Agency.

In a statement, Trump said the move will strengthen our cyberspace operations and create more opportunities to improve our Nations defense.

Headquartered at Fort George G. Meade, the move will make Cyber Command a more influential institution within the Department of Defense.

The decision could have significant economic ramifications for western Anne Arundel County, where Fort Meade is based.

Tim OFarrell, general manager for the Fort Meade Alliance, said the decision is huge for the state of Maryland. Its huge for this region.

He said, What this means is greater emphasis on cyber and economic development around the region as companies want to come to a place that is so close to the center of it all.

Claire Louder, the former CEO of the West County Chamber of Commerce, said last year that a change in how Cyber Command is positioned within the Department of Defense could lead to more opportunities for cyber companies looking to sign military contracts.

Currently, the agency is a sub-unified command underneath the U.S. Strategic Command, and Adm. Michael Rogers is the head of the NSA and Cyber Command.

Eric Geller, a cybersecurity reporter for Politico, wrote on Twitter the move elevates Cyber Command to the level of nine other unified combatant commands within the Department of Defense, such as U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Pacific Command.

Louder said because resources are allocated differently to full combatant commands rather than sub-unified commands, the change could lead to another significant economic boom for the region.

That could also lead to better positioning for county officials to lobby for additional funding for infrastructure and school improvements as more people move to the area following job opportunities.

OFarrell said Friday that while the move was largely expected Congress had authorized the president to make this move through its fiscal year 2017 defense policy legislation its impact on the cybersecurity community should not be understated.

If you want to understand what is happening in that space, youre going to have to come through here, OFarrell said. I think youre going to see, from Annapolis to Columbia, continued new companies coming into the marketplace.

Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Baltimore County, whose 2nd District includes Fort Meade, lauded Trumps decision to elevate the agency in a statement.

Demand for cyber warfare capabilities is only going to increase and this decision will give the Command the power and resources it needs to better protect our country, he wrote.

Trump said in the statement the move will also help streamline command and control of time-sensitive cyberspace operations by consolidating them under a single commander with authorities commensurate with the importance of such operations.

The change follows years of intense debate as to how Cyber Command should be positioned within the Department of Defense.

Several high-ranking officials have proposed separating the agency entirely from the NSA.

Created in 2009 at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Cyber Command plays a more active and offensive role in military combat than the NSA, mostly over the internet rather than on the ground.

During President Barack Obamas administration, former Defense Secretary Ash Carter and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper argued Cyber Command should be independent of the NSA.

However, Arizona Sen. John McCain has been adamant he would block any plans to end the dual-hat leadership that oversees the NSA and Cyber Command.

In a statement, McCain said he was pleased by Trumps decision, adding there is much more to be done to prepare our nation and our military to meet our cybersecurity challenges.

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Trump elevates US Cyber Command, exploring split from NSA – CapitalGazette.com

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Trump elevates Cyber Command, setting the stage for NSA separation – The Verge

The Trump administration this week elevated the US Cyber Command to a Unified Combatant Command, in a long-awaited move that underscores the growing importance of cyber warfare.

The decision, announced Friday, puts the Cyber Command on par with nine other combat commands, and may lead to its separation from the National Security Agency (NSA). In a statement, President Trump said that Secretary of Defense James Mattis will examine the possibility of separating the Cyber Command and the NSA, and that he will announce recommendations at a later date.

This new Unified Combatant Command will strengthen our cyberspace operations and create more opportunities to improve our Nations defense, Trump said in the statement. The elevation of United States Cyber Command demonstrates our increased resolve against cyberspace threats and will help reassure our allies and partners and deter our adversaries.

Trump says the move will streamline command and control of time-sensitive cyberspace operations.

Trump also said that the move will streamline command and control of time-sensitive cyberspace operations, and that it will ensure that critical cyberspace operations are adequately funded.

Proposals for creating an independent Cyber Command were first made under the Obama administration, with supporters arguing that the units mandate was sometimes at odds with the NSAs intelligence gathering operations particularly with regard to the fight against ISIS.

Cyber Command was created as a sub-unit of the US Strategic Command, with a mandate to conduct cyber warfare and defend government networks. Navy Admiral Michael Rogers currently leads both Cyber Command and the NSA.

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Trump elevates Cyber Command, setting the stage for NSA separation – The Verge

Posted in NSA

National Security Agency – Wikipedia

National Security Agency

Seal of the National Security Agency

Flag of the National Security Agency

The National Security Agency (NSA) is a national-level intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense, under the authority of the Director of National Intelligence. The NSA is responsible for global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes, specializing in a discipline known as signals intelligence (SIGINT). The NSA is also tasked with the protection of U.S. communications networks and information systems.[8][9] The NSA relies on a variety of measures to accomplish its mission, the majority of which are clandestine.[10]

Originating as a unit to decipher coded communications in World War II, it was officially formed as the NSA by President Harry S. Truman in 1952. Since then, it has become one of the largest U.S. intelligence organizations in terms of personnel and budget.[6][11]. The NSA currently conducts worldwide mass data collection and has been known to physically bug electronic systems as one method to this end.[12] The NSA has also been alleged to have been behind such attack software as Stuxnet, which severely damaged Iran’s nuclear program.[13][14] The NSA, alongside the CIA, maintain a physical presence in many countries across the globe; the CIA/NSA joint Special Collection Service (a highly classified intelligence team) inserts eavesdropping devices in high value targets (such as Presidential palaces or embassies). SCS collection tactics allegedly encompass “close surveillance, burglary, wiretapping, [and] breaking and entering”.[15][16]

Unlike the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), both of which specialize primarily in foreign human espionage, the NSA does not publically conduct human-source intelligence gathering. The NSA is entrusted with providing assistance to, and the coordination of, SIGINT elements for other government organizations – which are prevented by law from engaging in such activities on their own.[17] As part of these responsibilities, the agency has a co-located organization called the Central Security Service (CSS), which facilitates cooperation between the NSA and other U.S. defense cryptanalysis components. To further ensure streamlined communication between the signals intelligence community divisions, the NSA Director simultaneously serves as the Commander of the United States Cyber Command and as Chief of the Central Security Service.

The NSA’s actions have been a matter of political controversy on several occasions, including its spying on anti-Vietnam-war leaders and the agency’s participation in economic espionage. In 2013, the NSA had many of its secret surveillance programs revealed to the public by Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor. According to the leaked documents, the NSA intercepts and stores the communications of over a billion people worldwide, including United States citizens. The documents also revealed the NSA tracks hundreds of millions of people’s movements using cellphones metadata. Internationally, research has pointed to the NSA’s ability to surveil the domestic Internet traffic of foreign countries through “boomerang routing”.[18] The NSA is currently facing litigation from the Wikimedia Foundation for its potential violation of millions of Americans’ constitutional rights, including users of the site Wikipedia, during the government’s use of mass collection methods such as Upstream.

The origins of the National Security Agency can be traced back to April 28, 1917, three weeks after the U.S. Congress declared war on Germany in World War I. A code and cipher decryption unit was established as the Cable and Telegraph Section which was also known as the Cipher Bureau. It was headquartered in Washington, D.C. and was part of the war effort under the executive branch without direct Congressional authorization. During the course of the war it was relocated in the army’s organizational chart several times. On July 5, 1917, Herbert O. Yardley was assigned to head the unit. At that point, the unit consisted of Yardley and two civilian clerks. It absorbed the navy’s cryptoanalysis functions in July 1918. World War I ended on November 11, 1918, and the army cryptographic section of Military Intelligence (MI-8) moved to New York City on May 20, 1919, where it continued intelligence activities as the Code Compilation Company under the direction of Yardley.[19][20]

After the disbandment of the US Army cryptographic section of Military Intelligence, known as MI-8, in 1919, the United States government created The Cipher Bureau, also known as the Black Chamber. The Black Chamber was the United States’ first peacetime cryptanalytic organization.[21] Jointly funded by the Army and the State Department, the Cipher Bureau was disguised as a New York City commercial code company; it actually produced and sold such codes for business use. Its true mission, however, was to break the communications (chiefly diplomatic) of other nations. Its most notable known success was during the Washington Naval Conference during which it aided American negotiators considerably by providing them with the decrypted traffic of many of the Conference delegations, most notably the Japanese. The Black Chamber successfully persuaded Western Union, the largest U.S. telegram company at the time, as well as several other communications companies to illegally give the Black Chamber access to the cable traffic of foreign embassies and consulates.[22] Eventually, these companies publically discontinued their collaboration.

Despite the American Black Chamber’s initial successes, it was shut down in 1929 by U.S. Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson, who defended his decision by stating: “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail”.[23]

During World War II, the Signal Security Agency (SSA) was created to intercept and decipher the communications of the Axis powers.[24] When the war ended, the SSA was reorganized as the Army Security Agency (ASA), and it was placed under the leadership of the Director of Military Intelligence.[24]

On May 20, 1949, all cryptologic activities were centralized under a national organization called the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA).[24] This organization was originally established within the U.S. Department of Defense under the command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[25] The AFSA was tasked to direct Department of Defense communications and electronic intelligence activities, except those of U.S. military intelligence units.[25] However, the AFSA was unable to centralize communications intelligence and failed to coordinate with civilian agencies that shared its interests such as the Department of State, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).[25] In December 1951, President Harry S. Truman ordered a panel to investigate how AFSA had failed to achieve its goals. The results of the investigation led to improvements and its redesignation as the National Security Agency.[26]

The agency was formally established by Truman in a memorandum of October 24, 1952, that revised National Security Council Intelligence Directive (NSCID) 9.[27] Since President Truman’s memo was a classified document,[27] the existence of the NSA was not known to the public at that time. Due to its ultra-secrecy the U.S. intelligence community referred to the NSA as “No Such Agency”.[28]

In the 1960s, the NSA played a key role in expanding America’s commitment to the Vietnam War by providing evidence of a North Vietnamese attack on the American destroyer USSMaddox during the Gulf of Tonkin incident.[29]

A secret operation, code-named “MINARET”, was set up by the NSA to monitor the phone communications of Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker, as well as major civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr., and prominent U.S. journalists and athletes who criticized the Vietnam War.[30] However, the project turned out to be controversial, and an internal review by the NSA concluded that its Minaret program was “disreputable if not outright illegal”.[30]

The NSA mounted a major effort to secure tactical communications among U.S. forces during the war with mixed success. The NESTOR family of compatible secure voice systems it developed was widely deployed during the Vietnam War, with about 30,000 NESTOR sets produced. However a variety of technical and operational problems limited their use, allowing the North Vietnamese to exploit intercepted U.S. communications.[31]:Vol I, p.79

In the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, a congressional hearing in 1975 led by Sen. Frank Church[32] revealed that the NSA, in collaboration with Britain’s SIGINT intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), had routinely intercepted the international communications of prominent anti-Vietnam war leaders such as Jane Fonda and Dr. Benjamin Spock.[33] Following the resignation of President Richard Nixon, there were several investigations of suspected misuse of FBI, CIA and NSA facilities.[34] Senator Frank Church uncovered previously unknown activity,[34] such as a CIA plot (ordered by the administration of President John F. Kennedy) to assassinate Fidel Castro.[35] The investigation also uncovered NSA’s wiretaps on targeted American citizens.[36]

After the Church Committee hearings, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 was passed into law. This was designed to limit the practice of mass surveillance in the United States.[34]

In 1986, the NSA intercepted the communications of the Libyan government during the immediate aftermath of the Berlin discotheque bombing. The White House asserted that the NSA interception had provided “irrefutable” evidence that Libya was behind the bombing, which U.S. President Ronald Reagan cited as a justification for the 1986 United States bombing of Libya.[37][38]

In 1999, a multi-year investigation by the European Parliament highlighted the NSA’s role in economic espionage in a report entitled ‘Development of Surveillance Technology and Risk of Abuse of Economic Information’.[39] That year, the NSA founded the NSA Hall of Honor, a memorial at the National Cryptologic Museum in Fort Meade, Maryland.[40] The memorial is a, “tribute to the pioneers and heroes who have made significant and long-lasting contributions to American cryptology”.[40] NSA employees must be retired for more than fifteen years to qualify for the memorial.[40]

NSA’s infrastructure deteriorated in the 1990s as defense budget cuts resulted in maintenance deferrals. On January 24, 2000, NSA headquarters suffered a total network outage for three days caused by an overloaded network. Incoming traffic was successfully stored on agency servers, but it could not be directed and processed. The agency carried out emergency repairs at a cost of $3 million to get the system running again. (Some incoming traffic was also directed instead to Britain’s GCHQ for the time being.) Director Michael Hayden called the outage a “wake-up call” for the need to invest in the agency’s infrastructure.[41]

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the NSA created new IT systems to deal with the flood of information from new technologies like the Internet and cellphones. ThinThread contained advanced data mining capabilities. It also had a “privacy mechanism”; surveillance was stored encrypted; decryption required a warrant. The research done under this program may have contributed to the technology used in later systems. ThinThread was cancelled when Michael Hayden chose Trailblazer, which did not include ThinThread’s privacy system.[42]

Trailblazer Project ramped up in 2002 and was worked on by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Boeing, Computer Sciences Corporation, IBM, and Litton Industries. Some NSA whistleblowers complained internally about major problems surrounding Trailblazer. This led to investigations by Congress and the NSA and DoD Inspectors General. The project was cancelled in early 2004.

Turbulence started in 2005. It was developed in small, inexpensive “test” pieces, rather than one grand plan like Trailblazer. It also included offensive cyber-warfare capabilities, like injecting malware into remote computers. Congress criticized Turbulence in 2007 for having similar bureaucratic problems as Trailblazer.[43] It was to be a realization of information processing at higher speeds in cyberspace.[44]

The massive extent of the NSA’s spying, both foreign and domestic, was revealed to the public in a series of detailed disclosures of internal NSA documents beginning in June 2013. Most of the disclosures were leaked by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden.

NSA’s eavesdropping mission includes radio broadcasting, both from various organizations and individuals, the Internet, telephone calls, and other intercepted forms of communication. Its secure communications mission includes military, diplomatic, and all other sensitive, confidential or secret government communications.[45]

According to The Washington Post, “[e]very day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases.”[46]

Because of its listening task, NSA/CSS has been heavily involved in cryptanalytic research, continuing the work of predecessor agencies which had broken many World War II codes and ciphers (see, for instance, Purple, Venona project, and JN-25).

In 2004, NSA Central Security Service and the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agreed to expand NSA Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education Program.[47]

As part of the National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23 (NSPD 54), signed on January 8, 2008, by President Bush, the NSA became the lead agency to monitor and protect all of the federal government’s computer networks from cyber-terrorism.[9]

The NSA intercepts telephone and Internet communications of over a billion people worldwide, seeking information on foreign politics, military developments, terrorist activity, pertinet economic developments,[48] and “commercial secrets”.[49] A dedicated unit of the NSA locates targets for the CIA for extrajudicial assassination in the Middle East.[50] The NSA has also spied extensively on the European Union, the United Nations and numerous governments including allies and trading partners in Europe, South America and Asia.[51][52]

In the United States, at least since 2001,[53] there has been legal controversy over what signal intelligence can be used for and how much freedom the National Security Agency has to use signal intelligence.[54] The government has made, in 2015, slight changes in how it uses and collects certain types of data,[55] specifically phone records.

On December 16, 2005, The New York Times reported that, under White House pressure and with an executive order from President George W. Bush, the National Security Agency, in an attempt to thwart terrorism, had been tapping phone calls made to persons outside the country, without obtaining warrants from the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a secret court created for that purpose under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).[56]

One such surveillance program, authorized by the U.S. Signals Intelligence Directive 18 of President George Bush, was the Highlander Project undertaken for the National Security Agency by the U.S. Army 513th Military Intelligence Brigade. NSA relayed telephone (including cell phone) conversations obtained from ground, airborne, and satellite monitoring stations to various U.S. Army Signal Intelligence Officers, including the 201st Military Intelligence Battalion. Conversations of citizens of the U.S. were intercepted, along with those of other nations.[57]

Proponents of the surveillance program claim that the President has executive authority to order such action, arguing that laws such as FISA are overridden by the President’s Constitutional powers. In addition, some argued that FISA was implicitly overridden by a subsequent statute, the Authorization for Use of Military Force, although the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld deprecates this view. In the August 2006 case ACLU v. NSA, U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor concluded that NSA’s warrantless surveillance program was both illegal and unconstitutional. On July 6, 2007, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the decision on the grounds that the ACLU lacked standing to bring the suit.[58]

On January 17, 2006, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit, CCR v. Bush, against the George W. Bush Presidency. The lawsuit challenged the National Security Agency’s (NSA’s) surveillance of people within the U.S., including the interception of CCR emails without securing a warrant first.[59][60]

In September 2008, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class action lawsuit against the NSA and several high-ranking officials of the Bush administration,[61] charging an “illegal and unconstitutional program of dragnet communications surveillance,”[62] based on documentation provided by former AT&T technician Mark Klein.[63]

As a result of the USA Freedom Act passed by Congress in June 2015, the NSA had to shut down its bulk phone surveillance program on November 29 of the same year. The USA Freedom Act forbids the NSA to collect metadata and content of phone calls unless it has a warrant for terrorism investigation. In that case the agency has to ask the telecom companies for the record, which will only be kept for six months.

In May 2006, Mark Klein, a former AT&T employee, alleged that his company had cooperated with NSA in installing Narus hardware to replace the FBI Carnivore program, to monitor network communications including traffic between American citizens.[64]

NSA was reported in 2008 to use its computing capability to analyze “transactional” data that it regularly acquires from other government agencies, which gather it under their own jurisdictional authorities. As part of this effort, NSA now monitors huge volumes of records of domestic email data, web addresses from Internet searches, bank transfers, credit-card transactions, travel records, and telephone data, according to current and former intelligence officials interviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The sender, recipient, and subject line of emails can be included, but the content of the messages or of phone calls are not.[65]

A 2013 advisory group for the Obama administration, seeking to reform NSA spying programs following the revelations of documents released by Edward J. Snowden.[66] mentioned in ‘Recommendation 30’ on page 37, “…that the National Security Council staff should manage an interagency process to review on a regular basis the activities of the US Government regarding attacks that exploit a previously unknown vulnerability in a computer application.” Retired cyber security expert Richard A. Clarke was a group member and stated on April 11 that NSA had no advance knowledge of Heartbleed.[67]

In August 2013 it was revealed that a 2005 IRS training document showed that NSA intelligence intercepts and wiretaps, both foreign and domestic, were being supplied to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and were illegally used to launch criminal investigations of US citizens. Law enforcement agents were directed to conceal how the investigations began and recreate an apparently legal investigative trail by re-obtaining the same evidence by other means.[68][69]

In the months leading to April 2009, the NSA intercepted the communications of American citizens, including a Congressman, although the Justice Department believed that the interception was unintentional. The Justice Department then took action to correct the issues and bring the program into compliance with existing laws.[70] United States Attorney General Eric Holder resumed the program according to his understanding of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amendment of 2008, without explaining what had occurred.[71]

Polls conducted in June 2013 found divided results among Americans regarding NSA’s secret data collection.[72]Rasmussen Reports found that 59% of Americans disapprove,[73]Gallup found that 53% disapprove,[74] and Pew found that 56% are in favor of NSA data collection.[75]

On April 25, 2013, the NSA obtained a court order requiring Verizon’s Business Network Services to provide metadata on all calls in its system to the NSA “on an ongoing daily basis” for a three-month period, as reported by The Guardian on June 6, 2013. This information includes “the numbers of both parties on a call… location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls” but not “[t]he contents of the conversation itself”. The order relies on the so-called “business records” provision of the Patriot Act.[76][77]

In August 2013, following the Snowden leaks, new details about the NSA’s data mining activity were revealed. Reportedly, the majority of emails into or out of the United States are captured at “selected communications links” and automatically analyzed for keywords or other “selectors”. Emails that do not match are deleted.[78]

The utility of such a massive metadata collection in preventing terrorist attacks is disputed. Many studies reveal the dragnet like system to be ineffective. One such report, released by the New America Foundation concluded that after an analysis of 225 terrorism cases, the NSA “had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism.”[79]

Defenders of the program said that while metadata alone can’t provide all the information necessary to prevent an attack, it assures the ability to “connect the dots”[80] between suspect foreign numbers and domestic numbers with a speed only the NSA’s software is capable of. One benefit of this is quickly being able to determine the difference between suspicious activity and real threats.[citation needed] As an example, NSA director General Keith Alexander mentioned at the annual Cybersecurity Summit in 2013, that metadata analysis of domestic phone call records after the Boston Marathon bombing helped determine that[clarification needed] another attack in New York was baseless.[80]

In addition to doubts about its effectiveness, many people argue that the collection of metadata is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. As of 2015[update], the collection process remains legal and grounded in the ruling from Smith v. Maryland (1979). A prominent opponent of the data collection and its legality is U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon, who issued a report in 2013[81] in which he stated: “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval…Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment”.

As of May 7, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the interpretation of Section 215 of the Patriot Act was wrong and that the NSA program that has been collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk is illegal.[82] It stated that Section 215 cannot be clearly interpreted to allow government to collect national phone data and, as a result, expired on June 1, 2015. This ruling “is the first time a higher-level court in the regular judicial system has reviewed the N.S.A. phone records program.” [83] The replacement law known as the U.S.A. Freedom Act, which will enable the NSA to continue to have bulk access to citizens’ metadata but with the stipulation that the data will now be stored by the companies themselves.[83] This change will not have any effect on other Agency procedures – outside of metadata collection – which have purportedly challenged Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights;[84], including Upstream collection, a mass of techniques used by the Agency to collect and store American’s data/communications directly from the Internet backbone.[85]

Under programs like PRISM, the NSA paid billions of dollars to telecommunications companies in order to collect data from them.[86] While companies such as Google and Yahoo! claim that they do not provide “direct access” from their servers to the NSA unless under a court order,[87] the NSA had access to emails, phone calls and cellular data users.[88] Under this new ruling, telecommunications companies maintain bulk user metadata on their servers for at least 18 months, to be provided upon request to the NSA.[83] This ruling made the mass storage of specific phone records at NSA datacenters illegal, but it did not rule on Section 215’s constitutionality.[83]

In a declassified document it was revealed that 17,835 phone lines were on an improperly permitted “alert list” from 2006 to 2009 in breach of compliance, which tagged these phone lines for daily monitoring.[89][90][91] Eleven percent of these monitored phone lines met the agency’s legal standard for “reasonably articulable suspicion” (RAS).[89][92] The NSA tracks the locations of hundreds of millions of cellphones per day, allowing it to map people’s movements and relationships in detail.[93] The NSA has been reported to have access to all communications made via Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, AOL, Skype, Apple and Paltalk,[94] and collects hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal email and instant messaging accounts each year.[95] It has also managed to weaken much of the encryption used on the Internet (by collaborating with, coercing or otherwise infiltrating numerous technology companies to leave “backdoors” into their systems), so that the majority of encryption is inadverently vulnerable to different forms of attack.[96][97]

Domestically, the NSA has been proven to collect and store metadata records of phone calls,[98] including over 120 million US Verizon subscribers,[99] as well as intercept vast amounts of communications via the internet (Upstream).[94] The government’s legal standing had been to rely on a secret interpretation of the Patriot Act whereby the entirety of US communications may be considered “relevant” to a terrorism investigation if it is expected that even a tiny minority may relate to terrorism.[100] The NSA also supplies foreign intercepts to the DEA, IRS and other law enforcement agencies, who use these to initiate criminal investigations. Federal agents are then instructed to “recreate” the investigative trail via parallel construction.[101]

The NSA also spies on influential Muslims to obtain information that could be used to discredit them, such as their use of pornography. The targets, both domestic and abroad, are not suspected of any crime but hold religious or political views deemed “radical” by the NSA.[102]

According to a report in The Washington Post in July 2014, relying on information provided by Snowden, 90% of those placed under surveillance in the U.S. are ordinary Americans, and are not the intended targets. The newspaper said it had examined documents including emails, text messages, and online accounts that support the claim.[103]

Despite White House claims that these programs have congressional oversight, many members of Congress were unaware of the existence of these NSA programs or the secret interpretation of the Patriot Act, and have consistently been denied access to basic information about them.[104] The United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the secret court charged with regulating the NSA’s activities is, according to its chief judge, incapable of investigating or verifying how often the NSA breaks even its own secret rules.[105] It has since been reported that the NSA violated its own rules on data access thousands of times a year, many of these violations involving large-scale data interceptions.[106] NSA officers have even used data intercepts to spy on love interests;[107] “most of the NSA violations were self-reported, and each instance resulted in administrative action of termination.”[108]

The NSA has “generally disregarded the special rules for disseminating United States person information” by illegally sharing its intercepts with other law enforcement agencies.[109] A March 2009 FISA Court opinion, which the court released, states that protocols restricting data queries had been “so frequently and systemically violated that it can be fairly said that this critical element of the overall … regime has never functioned effectively.”[110][111] In 2011 the same court noted that the “volume and nature” of the NSA’s bulk foreign Internet intercepts was “fundamentally different from what the court had been led to believe”.[109] Email contact lists (including those of US citizens) are collected at numerous foreign locations to work around the illegality of doing so on US soil.[95]

Legal opinions on the NSA’s bulk collection program have differed. In mid-December 2013, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled that the “almost-Orwellian” program likely violates the Constitution, and wrote, “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval. Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment. Indeed, I have little doubt that the author of our Constitution, James Madison, who cautioned us to beware ‘the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power,’ would be aghast.”[112]

Later that month, U.S. District Judge William Pauley ruled that the NSA’s collection of telephone records is legal and valuable in the fight against terrorism. In his opinion, he wrote, “a bulk telephony metadata collection program [is] a wide net that could find and isolate gossamer contacts among suspected terrorists in an ocean of seemingly disconnected data” and noted that a similar collection of data prior to 9/11 might have prevented the attack.[113]

At a March 2013 Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Senator Ron Wyden asked Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, “does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Clapper replied “No, sir. … Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect, but not wittingly.”[114] This statement came under scrutiny months later, in June 2013, details of the PRISM surveillance program were published, showing that “the NSA apparently can gain access to the servers of nine Internet companies for a wide range of digital data.”[114] Wyden said that Clapper had failed to give a “straight answer” in his testimony. Clapper, in response to criticism, said, “I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful manner.” Clapper added, “There are honest differences on the semantics of what — when someone says collection to me, that has a specific meaning, which may have a different meaning to him.”[114]

NSA whistler-blower Edward Snowden additionally revealed the existence of XKeyscore, a top secret NSA program that allows the agency to search vast databases of “the metadata as well as the content of emails and other internet activity, such as browser history,” with capability to search by “name, telephone number, IP address, keywords, the language in which the internet activity was conducted or the type of browser used.”[115] XKeyscore “provides the technological capability, if not the legal authority, to target even US persons for extensive electronic surveillance without a warrant provided that some identifying information, such as their email or IP address, is known to the analyst.”[115]

Regarding the necessity of these NSA programs, Alexander stated on June 27 that the NSA’s bulk phone and Internet intercepts had been instrumental in preventing 54 terrorist “events”, including 13 in the US, and in all but one of these cases had provided the initial tip to “unravel the threat stream”.[116] On July 31 NSA Deputy Director John Inglis conceded to the Senate that these intercepts had not been vital in stopping any terrorist attacks, but were “close” to vital in identifying and convicting four San Diego men for sending US$8,930 to Al-Shabaab, a militia that conducts terrorism in Somalia.[117][118][119]

The U.S. government has aggressively sought to dismiss and challenge Fourth Amendment cases raised against it, and has granted retroactive immunity to ISPs and telecoms participating in domestic surveillance.[120][121] The U.S. military has acknowledged blocking access to parts of The Guardian website for thousands of defense personnel across the country,[122][123] and blocking the entire Guardian website for personnel stationed throughout Afghanistan, the Middle East, and South Asia.[124]

An October 2014 United Nations report condemned mass surveillance by the United States and other countries as violating multiple international treaties and conventions that guarantee core privacy rights.[125]

The Wikimedia Foundation and several other plaintiffs filed suit against the NSA in 2015, Wikimedia Foundation v. NSA, for the violation of their user’s First and Fourth Amendement rights by the Agency’s mass surveillance programs like Upstream.[126] The suit was initially dismissed, but was later found to have plausible and legal standing to its complaints by the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and was remanded. The case is currently awaiting further proceedings at the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.[127]

An exploit, EternalBlue, which is believed to have been created by the NSA, was used in the unprecedented worldwide WannaCry ransomware attack in May 2017. The exploit had been leaked online by a hacking group, The Shadow Brokers, nearly a month prior to the attack. A number of experts have pointed the finger at the NSA’s non-disclosure of the underlying vulnerability, and their loss of control over the EternalBlue attack tool that exploited it. Edward Snowden said that if the NSA had “privately disclosed the flaw used to attack hospitals when they found it, not when they lost it, [the attack] might not have happened”.[128] Wikipedia co-founder, Jimmy Wales, stated that he joined “with Microsoft and the other leaders of the industry in saying this is a huge screw-up by the government … the moment the NSA found it, they should have notified Microsoft so they could quietly issue a patch and really chivvy people along, long before it became a huge problem.”[129]

Operations by the National Security Agency can be divided in three types:

CAPRI OS is a National Security Agency codename for a project that is sent SSH and SSL intercepts for post-processing.[130]

“Echelon” was created in the incubator of the Cold War.[131] Today it is a legacy system, and several NSA stations are closing.[132]

NSA/CSS, in combination with the equivalent agencies in the United Kingdom (Government Communications Headquarters), Canada (Communications Security Establishment), Australia (Defence Signals Directorate), and New Zealand (Government Communications Security Bureau), otherwise known as the UKUSA group,[133] was reported to be in command of the operation of the so-called ECHELON system. Its capabilities were suspected to include the ability to monitor a large proportion of the world’s transmitted civilian telephone, fax and data traffic.[134]

During the early 1970s, the first of what became more than eight large satellite communications dishes were installed at Menwith Hill.[135] Investigative journalist Duncan Campbell reported in 1988 on the “ECHELON” surveillance program, an extension of the UKUSA Agreement on global signals intelligence SIGINT, and detailed how the eavesdropping operations worked.[136] In November 3, 1999 the BBC reported that they had confirmation from the Australian Government of the existence of a powerful “global spying network” code-named Echelon, that could “eavesdrop on every single phone call, fax or e-mail, anywhere on the planet” with Britain and the United States as the chief protagonists. They confirmed that Menwith Hill was “linked directly to the headquarters of the US National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort Meade in Maryland”.[137]

NSA’s United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18 (USSID 18) strictly prohibited the interception or collection of information about “… U.S. persons, entities, corporations or organizations….” without explicit written legal permission from the United States Attorney General when the subject is located abroad, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court when within U.S. borders. Alleged Echelon-related activities, including its use for motives other than national security, including political and industrial espionage, received criticism from countries outside the UKUSA alliance.[138][139]

The NSA was also involved in planning to blackmail people with “SEXINT”, intelligence gained about a potential target’s sexual activity and preferences. Those targeted had not committed any apparent crime nor were they charged with one.[140]

In order to support its facial recognition program, the NSA is intercepting “millions of images per day”.[141]

The Real Time Regional Gateway is a data collection program introduced in 2005 in Iraq by NSA during the Iraq War that consisted of gathering all electronic communication, storing it, then searching and otherwise analyzing it. It was effective in providing information about Iraqi insurgents who had eluded less comprehensive techniques.[142] This “collect it all” strategy introduced by NSA director, Keith B. Alexander, is believed by Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian to be the model for the comprehensive worldwide mass archiving of communications which NSA is engaged in as of 2013.[143]

Edward Snowden revealed in June 2013 that between February 8 and March 8, 2013, the NSA collected about 124.8billion telephone data items and 97.1billion computer data items throughout the world, as was displayed in charts from an internal NSA tool codenamed Boundless Informant. It was reported that some of these data reflected eavesdropping on citizens in countries like Germany, Spain and France.[144]

BoundlessInformant employs big data databases, cloud computing technology, and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to analyze data collected worldwide by the NSA.[145]

In 2013, reporters uncovered a secret memo that claims the NSA created and pushed for the adoption of the Dual EC DRBG encryption standard that contained built-in vulnerabilities in 2006 to the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the International Organization for Standardization (aka ISO).[146][147] This memo appears to give credence to previous speculation by cryptographers at Microsoft Research.[148]Edward Snowden claims that the NSA often bypasses encryption altogether by lifting information before it is encrypted or after it is decrypted.[147]

XKeyscore rules (as specified in a file xkeyscorerules100.txt, sourced by German TV stations NDR and WDR, who claim to have excerpts from its source code) reveal that the NSA tracks users of privacy-enhancing software tools, including Tor; an anonymous email service provided by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and readers of the Linux Journal.[149][150]

Linus Torvalds, the founder of Linux kernel, joked during a LinuxCon keynote on September 18, 2013, that the NSA, who are the founder of SELinux, wanted a backdoor in the kernel.[151] However, later, Linus’ father, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), revealed that the NSA actually did this.[152]

When my oldest son was asked the same question: “Has he been approached by the NSA about backdoors?” he said “No”, but at the same time he nodded. Then he was sort of in the legal free. He had given the right answer, everybody understood that the NSA had approached him.

IBM Notes was the first widely adopted software product to use public key cryptography for clientserver and serverserver authentication and for encryption of data. Until US laws regulating encryption were changed in 2000, IBM and Lotus were prohibited from exporting versions of Notes that supported symmetric encryption keys that were longer than 40 bits. In 1997, Lotus negotiated an agreement with the NSA that allowed export of a version that supported stronger keys with 64 bits, but 24 of the bits were encrypted with a special key and included in the message to provide a “workload reduction factor” for the NSA. This strengthened the protection for users of Notes outside the US against private-sector industrial espionage, but not against spying by the US government.[154][155]

While it is assumed that foreign transmissions terminating in the U.S. (such as a non-U.S. citizen accessing a U.S. website) subject non-U.S. citizens to NSA surveillance, recent research into boomerang routing has raised new concerns about the NSA’s ability to surveil the domestic Internet traffic of foreign countries.[18] Boomerang routing occurs when an Internet transmission that originates and terminates in a single country transits another. Research at the University of Toronto has suggested that approximately 25% of Canadian domestic traffic may be subject to NSA surveillance activities as a result of the boomerang routing of Canadian Internet service providers.[18]

Intercepted packages are opened carefully by NSA employees

A “load station” implanting a beacon

A document included in NSA files released with Glenn Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide details how the agency’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) and other NSA units gain access to hardware. They intercept routers, servers and other network hardware being shipped to organizations targeted for surveillance and install covert implant firmware onto them before they are delivered. This was described by an NSA manager as “some of the most productive operations in TAO because they preposition access points into hard target networks around the world.”[156]

Computers seized by the NSA due to interdiction are often modified with a physical device known as Cottonmouth.[157] Cottonmouth is a device that can be inserted in the USB port of a computer in order to establish remote access to the targeted machine. According to NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group implant catalog, after implanting Cottonmouth, the NSA can establish Bridging (networking) “that allows the NSA to load exploit software onto modified computers as well as allowing the NSA to relay commands and data between hardware and software implants.”[158]

NSA’s mission, as set forth in Executive Order 12333 in 1981, is to collect information that constitutes “foreign intelligence or counterintelligence” while not “acquiring information concerning the domestic activities of United States persons”. NSA has declared that it relies on the FBI to collect information on foreign intelligence activities within the borders of the United States, while confining its own activities within the United States to the embassies and missions of foreign nations.[159] The appearance of a ‘Domestic Surveillance Directorate’ of the NSA was soon exposed as a hoax in 2013.[160][161]

NSA’s domestic surveillance activities are limited by the requirements imposed by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for example held in October 2011, citing multiple Supreme Court precedents, that the Fourth Amendment prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures applies to the contents of all communications, whatever the means, because “a person’s private communications are akin to personal papers.”[162] However, these protections do not apply to non-U.S. persons located outside of U.S. borders, so the NSA’s foreign surveillance efforts are subject to far fewer limitations under U.S. law.[163] The specific requirements for domestic surveillance operations are contained in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), which does not extend protection to non-U.S. citizens located outside of U.S. territory.[163]

George W. Bush, president during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, approved the Patriot Act shortly after the attacks to take anti-terrorist security measures. Title 1, 2, and 9 specifically authorized measures that would be taken by the NSA. These titles granted enhanced domestic security against terrorism, surveillance procedures, and improved intelligence, respectively. On March 10, 2004, there was a debate between President Bush and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and Acting Attorney General James Comey. The Attorney Generals were unsure if the NSA’s programs could be considered constitutional. They threatened to resign over the matter, but ultimately the NSA’s programs continued.[164] On March 11, 2004, President Bush signed a new authorization for mass surveillance of Internet records, in addition to the surveillance of phone records. This allowed the president to be able to override laws such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which protected civilians from mass surveillance. In addition to this, President Bush also signed that the measures of mass surveillance were also retroactively in place.[165]

Under the PRISM program, which started in 2007,[166][167] NSA gathers Internet communications from foreign targets from nine major U.S. Internet-based communication service providers: Microsoft,[168]Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple. Data gathered include email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, VoIP chats such as Skype, and file transfers.

In June 2015, Wikileaks published documents, which showed that NSA spied on French companies.[169]

In July 2015, WikiLeaks published documents, which showed that NSA spied on federal German ministries since 1990s.[170][171] Even Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphones and phone of her predecessors had been intercepted.[172]

Former NSA director General Keith Alexander claimed that in September 2009 the NSA prevented Najibullah Zazi and his friends from carrying out a terrorist attack.[173] However, this claim has been debunked and no evidence has been presented demonstrating that the NSA has ever been instrumental in preventing a terrorist attack.[174][175][176][177]

Besides the more traditional ways of eavesdropping in order to collect signals intelligence, NSA is also engaged in hacking computers, smartphones and their networks. These operations are conducted by the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division.

According to the Foreign Policy magazine, “… the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, has successfully penetrated Chinese computer and telecommunications systems for almost 15 years, generating some of the best and most reliable intelligence information about what is going on inside the People’s Republic of China.”[178][179]

In an interview with Wired magazine, Edward Snowden said the Tailored Access Operations division accidentally caused Syria’s internet blackout in 2012.[180]

The NSA is led by the Director of the National Security Agency (DIRNSA), who also serves as Chief of the Central Security Service (CHCSS) and Commander of the United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) and is the highest-ranking military official of these organizations. He is assisted by a Deputy Director, who is the highest-ranking civilian within the NSA/CSS.

NSA also has an Inspector General, head of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), a General Counsel, head of the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and a Director of Compliance, who is head of the Office of the Director of Compliance (ODOC).[181]

Unlike other intelligence organizations such as CIA or DIA, NSA has always been particularly reticent concerning its internal organizational structure.

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National Speakers Association (NSA) | Where professional …

NSA provides professional speakers with the comprehensive resources, mentoring and professional connections they need to become more efficient and more effective in all aspects of their trade. Our 3,400+ members reach audiences as thought leaders, authors, consultants, coaches, trainers, educators, humorists, and motivators. Anyone who uses the spoken word to impact listeners can benefit from NSA membership.

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NSA | Define NSA at AcronymFinder

NSA National Security Agency (US government) NSA National Speakers Association NSA No Strings Attached NSA Naval Support Activity NSA Network Security Appliance (Sonicwall) NSA Notary Signing Agent NSA National Security Advisor NSA Not Seasonally Adjusted NSA National Security Archive NSA National Security Act NSA National Society of Accountants NSA National Sheriffs’ Association (Alexandria, VA, USA) NSA National Security Affairs NSA No Sugar Added NSA National Stuttering Association NSA National Stroke Association NSA Network Spinal Analysis NSA National Spiritual Assembly (Institution of the Baha’i Faith) NSA Norwegian Shipowners Association NSA North Slope of Alaska NSA National Sheep Association (Malvern, Worcestershire, UK) NSA National Safety Associates NSA National Scrabble Association NSA Non-State Actor (international relations) NSA National Student Association NSA North Star Academy NSA New Saint Andrews College (Moscow, Idaho) NSA National Sunflower Association NSA National Stone Association (Washington, DC) NSA National Stereoscopic Association NSA Negative Security Assurances NSA National Steeplechase Association NSA National Sound Archive NSA National Security Area NSA NATO Standardization Agency NSA National Smokers Alliance NSA Nebraska Statewide Arboretum NSA Negotiated Service Agreement (US postal service) NSA National Security Agents (gaming clan) NSA Non-Standard Analysis NSA National Seniors Australia (est. 1976) NSA Nuclear Science Abstracts NSA Normalized Site Attenuation NSA Nashville School of the Arts (Tennessee) NSA National Storytelling Association NSA National Slag Association (Alexandria, VA) NSA Northern Study Area NSA Navy Support Activity NSA National Skateboard Association NSA Noise Sensitive Area NSA Nikkei Stock Average NSA National Shipping Authority NSA National School of Administration (China) NSA Non-surgical Sperm Aspiration NSA Nunavut Settlement Area NSA New Statistical Account (Reports on the conditions of Scotland, with reports on each parish, in the 1830s) NSA National Supers Agency (fictional from the movie The Incredibles) NSA National Safety Association NSA National Security Anarchists (hacker group) NSA National Sprint Association (UK) NSA Natuurwetenschappelijke Studievereniging Amsterdam (University of Amsterdam Physics Department student organization) NSA Nebraska Soybean Association NSA Naperville Soccer Association NSA No Smoking Area NSA National Softball Association, Inc. NSA Norcross Soccer Association (Georgia) NSA Naval Supervising Activity NSA National Singles Association (Atlanta, Georgia) NSA Navy Stock Account NSA Night Stalker Association NSA National Success Association NSA National Shuffleboard Association NSA National Software Alliance NSA No Significant Abnormalities (disease assessment) NSA Northern Slope of Alaska NSA National Service Alliance, LLC NSA Non Semi Auto (concealed handgun license; Texas) NSA Non Standard Area (of a database) NSA Nantucket Shellfish Association (Nantucket, MA) NSA National Scout Association NSA National Standard Application NSA Narrow-Slot Approximation NSA National Sentinel Audit NSA Node Switching Assembly NSA Net Sales Area NSA Network Search Algorithm NSA Nikkei Student Association NSA Nuclear Support Agency NSA Naval Systems Analysis NSA Nichiren Shosu of America NSA Net Sellable Area (real estate) NSA Network South Australia (Adelaide, Australia) NSA Neutron Source Assembly NSA Net Server Assistant NSA Norwegian Security Act NSA Nabelschnurarterie (German: Umbilical Cord Artery) NSA Narrow Slot Aperture NSA Nikkei Siam Aluminium Limited (Pathumtani, Thailand) NSA New Student Ambassadors (various schools) NSA Nippon Software Industry Association (Japan) NSA Nippon Steel Australia NSA Nippon Supporters Association (Japan) NSA Nippon Surfing Association (Japan) NSA No Secrets Association NSA Non-Self-Aligned NSA Non Standard Ammunition (munitions) NSA Neil Stewart Associates (UK) NSA Network Security Administrator NSA Network Security Agreement NSA Network Simplex Algorithm NSA New Settlement Apartments (New York, NY) NSA New Small Airplane (Boeing) NSA Network Storage Appliance (computing) NSA Network Supported Account (Cisco) NSA Network Systems Administrator (various organizations) NSA Nouvelle Substance Active (French: New Active Substance; Canada) NSA Nordic Securities Association (est. 2008) NSA Non-Standard Auto (insurance) NSA Naczelny Sad Administracyjny (Polish: Supreme Administrative Court) NSA National Scrapbooking Association NSA National Sex Authority NSA National Smokejumper Association NSA National Snow Analyses (US NOAA) NSA Need Special Assistance NSA Natural Systems Agriculture NSA National Supervisory Authority (EU) NSA National Survey of Adolescents NSA Native Speakers of Arabic NSA National Statistical Authorities (EU) NSA National Sports Academy (various locations) NSA National Space Agency

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NSA Tournaments – NSA Florida Fastpitch

N S A SUMMER SLAM 2017 FISH HAWK LITHIA 2017-08-26 2017-08-27 8U – 18U NSA BATTLE OF THE BATS LEGENDS WAY BALLFIELDS NTC CLERMONT 2017-08-26 2017-08-27 8U-18U NSA IRON WOMAN CLASSIC MINIMUM OF 5 GAMES SEMINOLE COUNTY SOFTBALL COMPLEX ALTAMONTE SPRINGS 2017-09-02 2017-09-03 8U-18U N S A LABOR DAY IRONWOMAN – 3 SEED INTO DBL. ELIM. 2017 EDDIE C MOORE CLEARWATER 2017-09-02 2017-09-03 8U – 18U LETS GET READY TO RUMBLE HANCOCK PARK CLERMONT 2017-09-09 2017-09-10 8U-18U N S A QUEEN OF THE DIAMONDS 2017 NEW TAMPA COMM. TAMPA 2017-09-09 2017-09-10 8U – 18U NSA SEPTEMBER SLAM COMMUNITY PARK WEST PALM BEACH 2017-09-09 2017-09-10 8U-18U N S A KING OF THE HILL- 2 SEED INTO DLB ELIM EDDIE C MOORE CLEARWATER 2017-09-16 2017-09-17 8U – 18U NSA DOUBLE DOUBLE LEGENDS WAY BALLFIELDS NTC CLERMONT 2017-09-16 2017-09-17 8U-18U NSA DOUBLE DOUBLE AT THE BEACH CITY CENTER PARK PORT ORANGE 2017-09-16 2017-09-17 8U-18U N S A POLK IRON WOMAN- 3 SEED INTO DLBD ELIM CHRISTINA PARK LAKELAND 2017-09-23 2017-09-24 8U – 18U NSA GRIP IT AND RIP IT CHAIN OF LAKES TITUSVILLE 2017-09-23 2017-09-24 8U-18U NSA LOUISVILLE SLUGGER FALL CHAMPIONSHIPS LEGENDS WAY BALLFIELDS NTC CLERMONT 2017-09-30 2017-10-01 8U-18U N S A BATTLE OF THE BUCK #1 WIN $1000 ! ! ! ! 2017 NEW TAMPA COMM. TAMPA 2017-10-07 2017-10-08 8U – 18U NSA FALL FRENZY COMMUNITY PARK WEST PALM BEACH 2017-10-07 2017-10-08 8U-18U NSA STRIKE OUT CANCER AWARENESS TOURNAMENT ORMOND BEACH SPORTS COMPLEX ORMOND BEACH 2017-10-07 2017-10-08 8U-18U NSA BEAT CANCER WITH A BAT AWARENESS TOURNAMENT HANCOCK PARK CLERMONT 2017-10-14 2017-10-15 8U-18U ST LEO REVERSE EXPOSURE INVITATIONAL 2017 Eddie C. Moore Clearwater 2017-10-14 2017-10-15 8U – 18U ST LEO/N S A REP THE ROAR TOURNAMENT EDDIE C MOORE MADIERA BEACH CLEARWATERMADIERA 2017-10-14 2017-10-15 8U – 18U MICHELE SMITH COLLEGE SHOWCASE 2017 EDDIE C MOORE MADIERA BEACH CLEARWATERMADIERA 2017-10-21 2017-10-22 8U – 18U MICHELE SMITH SOFTBALL FOR HEARTS 2017 EDDIE C MOORE MADIERA BEACH CLEARWATERMADIERA 2017-10-21 2017-10-22 8U – 18U NSA MIZUNO FALL CHAMPIONSHIPS 2 GAME SEED INTO DOUBLE ELIM LEGENDS WAY BALLFIELDS CLERMONT 2017-10-21 2017-10-22 8U-18U N S A BOMBERWEEN – COSTUME CONTEST 2017 EDDIE C MOORE CLEARWATER 2017-10-28 2017-10-29 8U – 18U NSA SPOOKTACULAR LEGENDS WAY BALLFIELDS NTC CLERMONT 2017-10-28 2017-10-29 8U-18U NSA SPOOKTACULAR AT THE BEACH CITY CENTER PARK PORT ORANGE 2017-10-28 2017-10-29 8U-18U 8th ANNUAL PITCH FOR THE CURE 2017 CLEARWATER AND MADIERA CLEARWATERMADIERA 2017-11-04 2017-11-05 8U – 18U NSA SOUTH FLORIDA FALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS COMMUNTIY PARK WEST PALM BEACH 2017-11-04 2017-11-05 8U-18U NSA STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER ORMOND BEACH SPORTS COMPLEX ORMOND BEACH 2017-11-04 2017-11-05 8U-18U N S A FALL BRAWL 2017 Multiple Venues Polk County 2017-11-11 2017-11-12 8U – 18U NSA VETERANS DAY CLASSIC HANCOCK PARK CLERMONT 2017-11-11 2017-11-12 8U-18U BATTERBALL TURKEYFEST DOUBLE – DOUBLE 2017 EDDIE C MOORE CLEARWATER 2017-11-18 2017-11-19 8U – 18U NSA BATTLE AT THE BEACH IN BEAUTIFUL PORT ORANGE CITY CENTER PARK PORT ORANGE 2017-11-18 2017-11-19 8U-18U NSA KNOCK HUNGER OUT OF THE PARK LEGENDS WAY BALLFIELDS NTC CLERMONT 2017-11-18 2017-11-19 8U-18U N S A THANKSGIVING PICKEM– PLAY 1 OR 2 DAYS 2017 NEW TAMPA COMM. NEW TAMPA 2017-11-25 2017-11-26 8U – 18U N S A TOYS FOR THE TOTS #1 Fishhawk LITHIA 2017-12-02 2017-12-03 8U – 18U NSA TOYS FOR TOTS LEGENDS WAY BALLFIELDS NTC CLERMONT 2017-12-02 2017-12-03 8U-18U N S A FALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIP 2017 Multiple Venues Polk County 2017-12-09 2017-12-10 8U – 18U NSA TOYS FOR VETERANS COMMUNITY PARK WEST PALM BEACH 2017-12-09 2017-12-10 8U-18U N S A TOYS FOR THE TOTS #2 2017 NEW TAMPA COMM. TAMPA 2017-12-16 2017-12-17 8U – 18U NSA TOYS FOR TOTS AT THE BEACH CITY CENTER PARK PORT ORANGE 2017-12-16 2017-12-17 8U-18U

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Major Leak Suggests NSA Was Deep in Middle East … – WIRED

A woman walks past a branch of Noor Islamic Bank along Khalid Bin Al-Waleed Road in Dubai.

Reuters

For eight months, the hacker group known as Shadow Brokers has trickled out an intermittent drip of highly classified NSA data. Now, just when it seemed like that trove of secrets might be exhausted, the group has spilled a new batch. The latest dump appears to show that the NSA has penetrated deep into the finance infrastructure of the Middle Easta revelation that could create new scandals for the worlds most well-resourced spy agency.

Friday morning, the Shadow Brokers published documents thatif legitimateshow just how thoroughly US intelligence has compromised elements of the global banking system. The new leak includes evidence that the NSA hacked into EastNets, a Dubai-based firm that oversees payments in the global SWIFT transaction system for dozens of client banks and other firms, particularly in the Middle East. The leak includes detailed lists of hacked or potentially targeted computers, including those belonging to firms in Qatar, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Syria, Yemen, and the Palestinian territories. Also included in the data dump, as in previous Shadow Brokers releases, are a load of fresh hacking tools, this time targeting a slew of Windows versions.

“Oh you thought that was it?” the hacker group wrote in a typically grammar-challenged statement accompanying their leak. There was speculation prior to this morning’s release that the group had finally published its full set of stolen documents, after a seemingly failed attempt to auction them for bitcoins. “Too bad nobody deciding to be paying theshadowbrokers for just to shutup and going away.”

The transaction protocol SWIFT has been increasingly targeted by hackers seeking to redirect millions of dollars from banks around the world, with recent efforts in India, Ecuador, and Bangladesh. Security researchers have even pointed to clues that a $81 million Bangladesh bank theft via SWIFT may have been the work of the North Korean government . But the Shadow Brokers’ latest leak offers new evidence that the NSA has also compromised SWIFT, albeit most likely for silent espionage rather than wholesale larceny.

Andy Greenberg

The Shadow Brokers Mess Is What Happens When the NSA Hoards Zero-Days

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Andy Greenberg

How the CIA Can Hack Your Phone, PC, and TV (Says WikiLeaks)

EastNets has denied that it was hacked, writing on its Twitter account that there’s “no credibility to the online claim of a compromise of EastNets customer information on its SWIFT service bureau.” But the Shadow Brokers’ leak seems to suggest otherwise: One spreadsheet in the release, for instance, lists computers by IP address, along with corresponding firms in the finance industry and beyond, including the Qatar First Investment Bank, Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation Bahrain, Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange, Tadhamon International Islamic Bank, Noor Islamic Bank, Kuwait Petroleum Company, Qatar Telecom and others. A “legend” at the top of the spreadsheet notes that the 16 highlighted IP addresses mean, “box has been implanted and we are collecting.” That NSA jargon translates to a computer being successfully infected with its spyware. 1

Those IP addresses don’t actually correspond to the client’s computers, says Dubai-based security researcher Matt Suiche, but rather to computers servicing those clients at EastNets, which is one of 120 “service bureaus” that form a portion of the SWIFT network and make transactions on behalf of customers. “This is the equivalent of hacking all the banks in the region without having to hack them individually,” says Suiche, founder of UAE-based incident response and forensics startup Comae Technologies. “You have access to all their transactions.”

While the Shadow Brokers’ releases have already included NSA exploits, today’s leak is the first indication of targets of that sophisticated hacking in the global banking system. Unlike previous known hacks of the SWIFT financial network, nothing in the leaked documents suggests that the NSA used its access to EastNets’ SWIFT systems to actual alter transactions or steal funds. Instead, stealthily tracking the transactions within that network may have given the agency visibility into money flows in the regionincluding to potential terrorist, extremist, or insurgent groups.

If that sort of finance-focused espionage was in fact the NSA’s goal, it would hardly deviate from the agency’s core mission. But Suiche points out that confirmation of the operation would nonetheless lead to blowback for the NSA and the US governmentparticularly given that many of the listed targets are in US-friendly countries like Dubai and Qatar. “A big shitstorm is to come,” says Suiche. “You can expect the leadership of key organizations like banks and governments are going to be quite irritated, and theyre going to react.”

Beyond EastNets alone, Suiche points to references in the files to targeting the Panama-based firm Business Computer Group or BCG, although it’s not clear if the firm was actually compromised. Beyond its Twitter statement, EastNets didn’t respond to WIRED’s request for comment. WIRED also reached out to BCG and the NSA, but didn’t get a response.

SWIFT aside, the leak also contains a cornucopia of NSA hacking tools or “exploits,” including what appear to be previously secret techniques for hacking PCs and servers running Windows. Matthew Hickey, the founder of the security firm Hacker House, analyzed the collection and believes there are more than 20 distinct exploits in the leak, about 15 of which are included in an automated hacking “framework” tool called FuzzBunch.

This is as big as it gets.

Matthew Hickey, Hacker House

The attacks seem to target every recent version of Windows other than Windows 10, and several allow a remote hacker to gain the full ability to run their own code on a target machine. “There are exploits here that are quite likely zero days that will let you hack into any number of servers on the internet,” says Hickey. “This is as big as it gets. Its internet God mode.”

In a statement to WIRED, however, a Microsoft spokesperson wrote that the company had previously patched all the vulnerabilities in Windows that the hacking tools exploited. “We’ve investigated and confirmed that the exploits disclosed by the Shadow Brokers have already been addressed by previous updates to our supported products,” the statement reads. In a blog post, the company clarified that several of the exploits do still work, but only on versions of Windows prior to Windows 7. 2

But the Shadow Brokers hinted in their release that they’re not done creating trouble for the NSA yet. “Maybe if all suviving [sic] WWIII theshadowbrokers be seeing you next week,” the group’s message concludes. “Who knows what we having next time?”

1 Updated 4/14/2017 12:15 EST to include comments from EastNets.

2 Updated 4/15/2017 3:50 EST to include a response from Microsoft.

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Major Leak Suggests NSA Was Deep in Middle East … – WIRED

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NSA Spying | Electronic Frontier Foundation

The US government, with assistance from major telecommunications carriers including AT&T, has engaged in massive, illegal dragnet surveillance of the domestic communications and communications records of millions of ordinary Americans since at least 2001. Since this was first reported on by the press and discovered by the public in late 2005, EFF has been at the forefront of the effort to stop it and bring government surveillance programs back within the law and the Constitution.

History of NSA Spying Information since 2005 (See EFFs full timeline of events here)

News reports in December 2005 first revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been intercepting Americans phone calls and Internet communications. Those news reports, combined with a USA Today story in May 2006 and the statements of several members of Congress, revealed that the NSA is also receiving wholesale copies of American’s telephone and other communications records. All of these surveillance activities are in violation of the privacy safeguards established by Congress and the US Constitution.

In early 2006, EFF obtained whistleblower evidence (.pdf) from former AT&T technician Mark Klein showing that AT&T is cooperating with the illegal surveillance. The undisputed documents show that AT&T installed a fiberoptic splitter at its facility at 611 Folsom Street in San Francisco that makes copies of all emails web browsing and other Internet traffic to and from AT&T customers and provides those copies to the NSA. This copying includes both domestic and international Internet activities of AT&T customers. As one expert observed, this isnt a wiretap, its a country-tap.

Secret government documents, published by the media in 2013, confirm the NSA obtains full copies of everything that is carried along major domestic fiber optic cable networks. In June 2013, the media, led by the Guardian and Washington Post started publishing a series of articles, along with full government documents, that have confirmed much of what was reported in 2005 and 2006 and then some. The reports showed-and the government later admittedthat the government is mass collecting phone metadata of all US customers under the guise of the Patriot Act. Moreover, the media reports confirm that the government is collecting and analyzing the content of communications of foreigners talking to persons inside the United States, as well as collecting much more, without a probable cause warrant. Finally, the media reports confirm the upstream collection off of the fiberoptic cables that Mr. Klein first revealed in 2006. (See EFFs How It Works page here for more)

EFF Fights Back in the Courts

EFF is fighting these illegal activities in the courts. Currently, EFF is representing victims of the illegal surveillance program in Jewel v. NSA,a lawsuit filed in September 2008 seeking to stop the warrantless wiretapping and hold the government and government officials behind the program accountable. In July 2013, a federal judge ruled that the government could not rely on the controversial “state secrets” privilege to block our challenge to the constitutionality of the program. On February 10, 2015, however, the court granted summary judgment to the government on the Plaintiffs allegations of Fourth Amendment violations based on the NSAs copying of Internet traffic from the Internet backbone. The court ruled that the publicly available information did not paint a complete picture of how the NSA collects Internet traffic, so the court could not rule on the program without looking at information that could constitute state secrets. The court did not rule that the NSAs activities are legal, nor did it rule on the other claims in Jewel, and the case will go forward on those claims.This case is being heard in conjunction with Shubert v. Obama, which raises similar claims.

In July, 2013, EFF filed another lawsuit, First Unitarian v. NSA, based on the recently published FISA court order demanding Verizon turn over all customer phone records including who is talking to whom, when and for how longto the NSA. This so-called metadata, especially when collected in bulk and aggregated, allows the government to track the associations of various political and religious organizations. The Director of National Intelligence has since confirmed that the collection of Verizon call records is part of a broader program.

In addition to making the same arguments we made in Jewel, we argue in First Unitarian that this type of collection violates the First Amendment right to association. Previously, in Hepting v. AT&T,EFF filed the first case against a cooperating telecom for violating its customers’ privacy. After Congress expressly intervened and passed the FISA Amendments Act to allow the Executive to require dismissal of the case,Hepting was ultimately dismissed by the US Supreme Court.

In September of 2014, EFF, along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho, joined the legal team for Anna Smith, an Idaho emergency neonatal nurse, in her challenge of the government’s bulk collection of the telephone records of millions of innocent Americans. In Smith v. Obama, we are arguing the program violated her Fourth Amendment rights by collecting a wealth of detail about her familial, political, professional, religious and intimate associations. In particular, we focus on challenging the applicability of the so-called third party doctrine, the idea that people have no expectation of privacy in information they entrust to others.

First Unitarian v. NSA: EFFs case challenging the NSAs phone metadata surveillance

Jewel v. NSA: EFFs case challenging the NSAs dragnet surveillance

Hepting v. AT&T: EFFs case that challenged AT&Ts complicity in illegal NSA spying

Smith v. Obama: EFF’s appeal with the ACLU of an Idaho nurse’s challenge to the NSA’s phone metadata surveillance.

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NSA Spying | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Posted in NSA

NSA Computer Exchange Corp. Exec: Ransomware Protection Drives Recurring Revenue Sales – CRN

XChange 2017: How To Evaluate Tech Startups As Business Partners

During the XChange 2017 conference this week in Orlando, Fla., The Channel Company’s CEO Robert Faletra moderated a panel with top solution provider executives, including Michael Knight, John Shaw, Michael Lomonaco and John Head.

APC Targets The Local Edge With New Tool, Program

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NSA Computer Exchange Corp. Exec: Ransomware Protection Drives Recurring Revenue Sales – CRN

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NSA launches national geographic portal – Namibian

Business | 2017-08-23Page no: 13

THE LAUNCH … (From left) The deputy director for spatial data and national spatial data infrastructure Namibia, Alex Mudabeti, Khomas police regional crime investigations coordinator, commissioner Silvanus Nghishidimbwa, Information minister Tjekero Tweya, Land reform minister Utoni Nujoma, economic planning minister Tom Alweendo, Florette Nakusera, NSA board chairperson, NSA surveyor general Ndilipunye Shanyangana and statistician general Alex Shimuafeni at the launch of the national geograph

THE Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) on Monday launched the online national geographic portal (geoportal), which will help citizens to search and evaluate data from different government institutions.

The portal will also help citizens link map browsers through Digital Namibia, which is found within the platform that permits the visualisation and analysis of core data.

The platform can be accessed at Geofind.nsa.org.na.

Speaking during the launch, land reform minister Utoni Nujoma said Namibia is committed to building soft infrastructure of government spatial data which will reflect a digital Namibia.

Together, as a network of government institutions, we can heighten a culture of evidence-based development planning, decision-making and policy formulation.

Spatial data, also known as geospatial data or geographic information, is data or information that identifies the geographic location, features and boundaries on earth, such as natural or constructed features and oceans.

Nujoma said launching the national geographic portal shows that all government ministries will live up to their mandate in maintaining and providing data to avoid promoting a redundant system that is populated with outdated information which does not live up to the government’s mandate.

He applauded the Namibia Spatial Data Infrastructure team under the NSA, as well as economic planning minister and director general of the National Planning Commission, Tom Alweendo, and information minister Tjekero Tweya for their commitment towards the realisation of the platform.

This high level of commitment should serve as a pillar of hope and source of motivation to all of us to continue working in the best interests of our country, said Nujoma.

Speaking at the same event, Alweendo encouraged various government ministries and agencies to partner NSA to have full access to the portal.

He also urged citizens to be concerned with the quality of data that the portal will provide, adding that people and government ministries and agencies should make the best use of the platform. Nampa

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NSA launches national geographic portal – Namibian

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