Friday, January 10, 2014
NSA hacking in Paradise
Der Spiegel described the Office of Tailored Access Operations (TAO) as "something like a squad of plumbers that can be called in when normal access to a target is blocked."
TAO was originally located at the NSA's headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. But the unit has since expanded, with offices in Wahiawa, Hawaii; Fort Gordon, Georgia; Buckley Air Force Base near Denver, Colorado; and San Antonio, Texas.
by Larry Geller
Although the steady stream of Snowden revelations continues to be crucially important, a certain saturation sets in. Overload. Too much. TLDR. I know that these folks evil, spying on everyone without apparent exceptions. Fresh news of what they can see or what they do is no longer as shocking as it was at first.
So I amuse myself by trying to figure out if there is any Hawaii connection. In this item, it was easy. Wahiawa was named explicitly as a nest of NSA hackers, presumably staffed with Snowden-clones each with access to veritable mountains of data that domestic and foreign governments and corporations thought was safe from intrusion:
The top secret unit has succeeded in gaining access to 258 targets in 89 countries. In 2010 alone, it conducted 279 global operations, according to the documents.
Der Spiegel reported that TAO specialists have directly accessed the protected networks of democratically elected leaders of different states. They infiltrated networks of European telecommunications companies and gained access to messages sent over Blackberry's BES email servers - which are considered to be securely encrypted.
[RT.com, ‘Getting the ungettable’: Leaks reveal NSA’s top hacking unit, 1/1/2014]
How long before a new Edward Snowden emerges? Can all of these people be trusted to keep their work secret forever?