NSA programs are far more capable than people once thought – now allowing for the agency to tap into any cellular network in the world – no matter where it’s located.

The NSA has been working diligently to gather as much information as is possible through cellular networks, and mobile technology as the United States network grows larger, and larger. The target audience, this time, according to the latest documents leaked by Edward Snowden suggest that the goal is now, or has been, to reach as far as possible while infiltrating those broad cellular networks. In fact, those documents show that as of two years ago, the NSA had already gathered the technical specifications, and running details from approximately 70% of the estimated 985 mobile networks that exist on the planet.

While the documents do not specifically detail what companies, or entities were inquired about, or infiltrated – as it may be now two years later – they do reveal that operators in China, Iran, and Libya were all a part of this broad operation to collect technical data. The types of data that was gathered from the operation ranged from internal emails to network security flaws.

The documents even go as far as to point out that NSA operations were collecting security weaknesses and network details – like encryptions used by these mobile service operators – to circumvent the encrypted information. The most recent operation that has created this new stir is known as operation AURORAGOLD. The operation likely lasted several years, and impacted a wide-range of companies and individuals – inside and outside the United States.

Ultimately, it wasn’t until 2013 when Edward Snowden was ‘found out’ and forced to leave the country – and assume a life in Russia thanks to his leaking of confidential documents used by the NSA. That being said, as the leak occurred and the information involved became apparent, it became clearer and clearer that what the United States was after was a type of global surveillance. This global surveillance meant the revelation that the NSA actually spied on allies of the United States in addition to those who posed a threat.

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The NSA has also been harshly criticized for their continued collection of domestic telephone records. Even private individuals were not safe from the reach of the NSA – and it has appeared as though there is no agency in the world that is doing more to gather more information about what people, corporations, and even other governments are doing.
The major threat though, according to those who work in encryption and the mobile security space is the notion of adding bugs, or flaws to a system – in order to take advantage of it down the road.

Ultimately, this makes the risk that an outside force could potentially infiltrate those same flaws. According to Karsten Noh, who is a smartphone security expert noted that “Even if you love the NSA and you say you have nothing to hide, you should be against a policy that introduces security vulnerabilities, because once NSA introduces a weakness, a vulnerability, it’s not only the NSA that can exploit it.”

It’s unclear what, if any, impact this will have on the global scale moving forward.

[Source]

50 COMMENTS

  1. The other option is that every one else will be hacking all of us ( already happening ) and the only one not doing it is the NSA. Get a life. This will continue and the idiots of the world will object that someone may find out they take 3 potty breaks every day. Who cares.

          • It is the chicken and egg syndrome. Regardless of which or who came first the evolution that follows will not stop the hacking or theft or ??? As long as anyone on this planet does it there will be others to follow suit. This will never change. It will only escalate. I would personally love to see the perfect world but it does not exist. No matter what the majority of mankind does it only takes one to destroy it.

      • No schooling doesn’t always work and it’s a good thing. If all the schooling worked and everyone followed what they are told we would still be in the stone age.

      • The constitution is a great document. I have personally read the document. It is what the world should try to emulate. It is not and will never be the reality of life in the world.

  2. This isn’t news. At all. How is this news? Did anyone seriously think that the CIA wasn’t trying to tap into every cellular network?

    If they did, clearly they missed the part where the CIA are a bunch of spies.

    Seriously. If they weren’t at least gathering information on how to exploit these networks, I’d say they weren’t doing their jobs.

    • I suggest you try out some other police states where you can be monitored with even more attention! But I bet you’ve never even stepped foot in such countries, have you? Experience is the best teacher.

      • I’m sorry, but literally every country tries to do this if they have the power to do so. Spying on foreign communications is like, the entire job of the CIA; I would expect them to try and get into every single telecom network on the planet because that is their job.

        It is the telecom networks’ job to keep them out. Spies are entirely necessary and are a good thing.

    • As long as the NSA, CIA, FBI and DCA aren’t doing it to Americans as a normal practice I’m all for it. We still do have a Constitution and Bill of Rights.

      • Sure, because sales of networking equipment (routers, telephone switches, cell phones, computers, software) made by American companies have nothing to do with the short nor long term success of the US. And, the notion of ‘Natural Rights’ is subsumed by ‘Might Makes Right’. Get a clue.

        • I’m willing to listen but I don’t quite get your point about the technology…clue me in. I’ve been in this game of information security for an awful long time, decades. Maybe you could explain to me how it all works. I’m listening, really. Let’s see how clued in you really are. Let’s start with Snowden and move on to the techie side. I’ve worked with folks who worked with the guy. Tell me about him please.

  3. Americans are too fat, lazy and stupid to understand what any of this means. They love to be ruled by propaganda and fried butter products. Biggest murderers on the planet. By big, I mean portly. NSA is the new world government.

  4. Snowden. Anyone who thinks he has done a net-positive service to America or to the world is uneducated as to the facts. This guy is an arrogant, selfish, destructive, prima donna ass licker. He is creating his own karma, and it will come for him and his family eventually… and it won’t be pretty.

    • He is too much on the world stage for you Yankees to do anything stupid. Also Putin knows a thousand ways to get back at you, dumb ass. Thirdly, it would not prevent more revelations and would just bring you more bad name. Yankees will have to live with this and take a cold shower to cool the f*** down.

    • How can you say that? He’s a hero for telling us what he did. Spying on us like that is a clear violation of our rights, it’s completely immoral what our government does to everyone.

      • Not only is it immoral, but is was supposed to be illegal! They made it legal by getting the chief justice in charge of judicial oversight to basically sign off on not doing her job anymore. There are a lot of nuts out there (see comments here) but this in itself should make every American stand up and take notice. They made a joke out of our laws.

      • First, I hate the changes that have happened in America… loss of privacy, the growth of the drone fleet, continuation of Petro$ economy based on military control in the mideast. Snowden did NOT help America in any of this. If Snowden was such a great hero, he would have stood and fought the US Govt in the courts… he could be a rallying symbol as a martyr. Instead, he ran away and continues throwing bombs over his shoulder like a yellow little retreat monkey. He does not care about doing right things for America, he just wants to lash out and punish, and that does not help our situation. I will appreciate Snowden when he returns to face trial and forces the US Govt and the 1% to face the way they are destroying the best of what America has been about… We could use Snowden as a symbol… until then, he is a petulant whiny little bitch coward rat who deserves nothing but contempt.

  5. Hi, I work for the CIA. I read 1 million emails per day. The other employees read the other 999 million emails that are sent every day.

    For f’s sakes, get a grip people.

  6. Edward Snowden…you ignorant, simpleton. What the hell have you done? Did the ends justify the means Edward? I don’t think so. You need to be brought up on espionage charges, tried and then hung at high noon in the public square.

    • The government commits immoral atrocities against all its citizens, and you call for the one man who had the balls to expose the evil to be killed? You have a very backwards sense of morality.

      • Yeah, I started out thinking like you but I’ve progressed. Let’s see what you think of him and this exposure when our power grids go down, when all of our top secret data that the US tax payer has been paying to have researched and built ends up in the hands of those we are competing against. Maybe you’ll sing a new tune then. My morality and that of the world don’t line up. In a perfect world, what he did was good, in ours, it’s not so good.

        • That is the most morally backwards thing I’ve ever heard.

          “I want to be good, but the world is evil, therefore I’m going to support evil.”

          Really brilliant stuff.

  7. Something to think about. The government routinely uses computer forensics (and other evidence) to convict people accused of (whatever) crimes. I believe the extent to which governments are penetrating all networks makes an excellent case to have forensic computer evidence thrown out of trials as unreliable. Moreover, if the only evidence of a crime is something on a person’s computer, they should be acquitted or never indicted in the first place, until more reliable evidence exists. This makes a good case (also) for a company like McAfee (or others) to develop tools to fight specifically this type of developing threat. I’m sure they’re on it…

    • I totally agree with the premise about forensic evidence and trials and it is a good debate to have…an excellent one actually. But if we don’t use forensics, what do we rely upon in the most extreme circumstances of computer abuse? And as for McAfee and any of the others, a zero-day exploit is a zero-day exploit…by definition it is hard to compete against that. All the coding in the world by the best programmers is still done by humans who make mistakes…..sometimes en masse.

  8. Edward Snowden is under the protection of Putin in Russia.
    He will never travel to a country that has a deportation agreement with the
    USA.
    It is time to send a “Sparrow Squad” for him.

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