To keep you up to date on the latest in a long list of spying intrusions by the United States National Security Agency (NSA – an agency estimated to be the largest U.S. intelligence organization in terms of personnel and budget),
…they apparently have a special unit within the organization which intercepts deliveries of new computers and computer equipment en route on delivery – in order to plant spyware, according to a report from ‘Spiegel Online‘, a German publication.
…they apparently are racing to build a quantum computer that could break nearly every kind of encryption used, according to a report from the Washington Post.
NSA Computer Interception
The NSA calls the method, “interdiction,” and is apparently (according to information from ‘Der Spiegel’) one of their most successful operations and is conducted by the NSA’s Office of Tailored Access Operations (TAO), which specializes in infiltrating computers.
NSA’s TAO can divert (intercept) the shipping delivery to its own secret workshops BEFORE the computer or hardware reaches the individual (you) or whomever or whatever company or agency is targeted.
PCWorld.com says in a report, “The workshops, called ‘load stations,’ install malware or hardware components that give the NSA access to the computer,”.
Also reported, the NSA apparently has a division called ‘ANT,’ which specializes in engineering access to products from companies such as firewall maker Juniper Networks, networking giants Cisco Systems and Huawei Technologies, and Dell. A logical presumption could be that these companies have been compromised and may have NSA ‘back doors’ built into their products.
Yet another discovery was that the NSA has access to computer crash reports sent by computers to Microsoft. You might be familiar with the prompt which is sometimes shown during certain problems with Windows, and users are asked if they’d like to send an automated report to the company… The NSA can intercept these Windows crash reports (and get into your computer?) from a sea of internet traffic using its XKeyscore tool, an internet monitoring tool revealed in July by The Guardian.
The NSA apparently uses a tool called QUANTUMINSERT to not only track a person’s internet browsing, but at opportune moments it can direct the user’s computer to one of its FOXACID exploitation servers, and is reportedly (‘Der Spiegel’) particularly successful if you are a ‘LinkedIn’ user (a social networking website for people in professional occupations).
NSA Quantum Computer
The NSA has apparently built room-size metal boxes (shielded rooms known as Faraday cages which secure against electromagnetic leaks), which house a large scale quantum computer (a machine exponentially faster than classical computers) that could break nearly every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business and government records around the world. With such technology, all current forms of public key encryption would be broken, including those used on many secure Web sites as well as the type used to protect state secrets.
A large-scale quantum computer could theoretically break a 1,024-bit encryption, and while some leading Internet companies are moving to 2,048-bit keys, even those are thought to be vulnerable to rapid decryption with a quantum computer.
The Fourth Amendment
There’s also this thing in the United States called the Fourth Amendment.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
I wonder if the NSA has a copy of THE CONSTITUTION…