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NSA Hackers Get the 'Ungettable' With Rich Catalog of Custom Tools
From: InfoSec News <alerts () infosecnews org>
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2013 10:08:45 +0000 (UTC)

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/12/nsa-hacking-catalogue/

By Kim Zetter
Threat Level Wired.com
12.30.13

While most Americans spend their time shopping Amazon, Target and Apple.com, the National Security Agency’s elite team of hackers spends its time shopping a secret high-end catalog of custom tools designed to subvert firewalls, servers, and routers made by U.S. firms, impersonate a GSM base station to intercept mobile phone calls, or siphon data from a wireless network.

Hackers in the Tailored Access Operations division get the “ungettable” data the NSA can’t otherwise obtain from tapping undersea cables or collecting bulk data from companies like Yahoo and Google. They do this by by installing backdoors and other implants remotely or by physically intercepting hardware being delivered to customers and planting backdoors in firmware, der Spiegel reports, citing newly disclosed documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

“For nearly every lock, ANT seems to have a key in its toolbox,” der Spiegel writes. “And no matter what walls companies erect, the NSA’s specialists seem already to have gotten past them.”

With names like PICASSO, IRATEMONKEY, COTTONMOUTH, and WATERWITCH, the various tools allow NSA snoops to map networks and not only monitor data but surreptitiously divert it or modify it.

[...]

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