Already mentioned by Jorge, this stuff is very important IMHO ...Shopping for Spy Gear: Catalog Advertises NSA Toolbox ( Der Spiegel 2013-12-29 )NSA intercepting PC shipments to install spyware ( NeoWin 2013-12-29 )The NSA Has An Elite Team Of Hackers Nationwide ( Tom's Hardware 2013-12-30 )Leaked NSA document claims covert program grants complete access to the iPhone ( TechSpot 2013-12-31 )NSA Reportedly Hijacks PCs to Install Spyware, Has Backdoor Access to iPhones ( maximum PC 2013-12-31 )
After years of speculation that electronics can be accessed by intelligence agencies through a back door, an internal NSA catalog reveals that such methods already exist for numerous end-user devices.
A document viewed by SPIEGEL resembling a product catalog reveals that an NSA division called ANT has burrowed its way into nearly all the security architecture made by the major players in the industry -- including American global market leader Cisco and its Chinese competitor Huawei, but also producers of mass-market goods, such as US computer-maker Dell.
The specialists at ANT, which presumably stands for Advanced or Access Network Technology, could be described as master carpenters for the NSA's department for Tailored Access Operations (TAO). In cases where TAO's usual hacking and data-skimming methods don't suffice, ANT workers step in with their special tools, penetrating networking equipment, monitoring mobile phones and computers and diverting or even modifying data. Such "implants," as they are referred to in NSA parlance, have played a considerable role in the intelligence agency's ability to establish a global covert network that operates alongside the Internet.
The ANT division doesn't just manufacture surveillance hardware. It also develops software for special tasks. The ANT developers have a clear preference for planting their malicious code in so-called BIOS, software located on a computer's motherboard that is the first thing to load when a computer is turned on.
This has a number of valuable advantages: an infected PC or server appears to be functioning normally, so the infection remains invisible to virus protection and other security programs. And even if the hard drive of an infected computer has been completely erased and a new operating system is installed, the ANT malware can continue to function and ensures that new spyware can once again be loaded onto what is presumed to be a clean computer. The ANT developers call this "Persistence" and believe this approach has provided them with the possibility of permanent access.
Well, IMHO this latest revelation is nothing short of huge.
We are getting into black bag jobs here and it could lead to big problems for the spooks and those who authorize and enable them. It pretty much indicates that nothing is safe anywhere, the cloud, the comm traffic there and back, or even the local hardware and software. Ironically we were just musing a few weeks ago about the possibility of compromised BIOS code with respect to laptop webcams, and now this thing pops up describing it in a generic fashion. It is a must-read article at Der Spiegel, focusing on several spook methods including grabbing devices in transit to your door, installing bugs and then letting them go on their way. No part of the Fourth Amendment appears to be in effect any longer and at the end of this controversy we just might be looking at the end of these agencies. The Church Committee
didn't have a fraction of the evidence we are now seeing, let alone outright crimes against key Amendments in the Bill of Rights. This is shaping up to be the single biggest story in USA history and is on course now to possible revolution. Well, that is if the sheeple ever wake up.
The next story, the updated ruling on the recent case dovetails right here very nicely ...Judge rules NSA phone tracking legal ( Politico 2013-12-27 )NSA collection of phone data is lawful, federal judge rules ( Washington Post 2013-12-27 )
A federal judge in New York ruled Friday that the massive collection of domestic telephone data brought to light by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden is lawful, rejecting a challenge to the program by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The decision marked a victory for the government less than two weeks after a District Court judge ruled against it, finding that the NSAs program was almost certainly unconstitutional. If the split in rulings continues through the appeals process, it is likely the Supreme Court will have to decide the issue.
In a 53-page opinion, U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III said Friday that the program, which collects virtually all Americans phone records, represents the U.S. governments counter-punch to eliminate the al-Qaeda terrorist network and does not violate the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure.
Here's a photo
I mean judge, found on this page
. Apparently nothing violates the Fourth Amendment and nothing ever will as long as it is couched in anti-terrorism rationale. In other times this honorless idi0t would be tarred and feathered by now. Personally I would support construction of a tall circular skyscraper where each room is a prison cell dead center in Arlington National Cemetary
where all our tyrants and their enablers would be sentenced to hard time in solitary confinement staring out at the acres and acres of granite and marble monuments to so many that died protecting that Constitution. Even that would be too good for them though.
Playing Taps, but for a lone soldier or the Constitution itself? ( Image Source: Arlington National Cemetery )
BTW, here is a flashback to six years ago when the government seemingly anticipated the current mess and granted the telcos immunity from lawsuits:New Federal Wiretap Law Granting Phone Companies Retroactive Immunity Challenged in Court ( LawReader 2008-10-18 )
The law, passed in July, granted retroactive protection to AT&T, Verizon and other companies against lawsuits accusing them of illegally sharing their telephone and e-mail networks and millions of customer records with the National Security Agency. The NSA began monitoring Americans communications with alleged foreign terrorists, without court warrants, after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
They are of course talking about the FISA court Amendments in 2008
where they allowed the phone companies to become their partners with nothing to lose by granting immunity from lawsuits. Remember how that turned out? From that wikipedia page ...
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit challenging the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 on the day it was enacted. The case was filed on behalf of a broad coalition of attorneys and human rights, labor, legal, and media organizations whose ability to perform their workwhich relies on confidential communicationscould be compromised by the new law. The complaint, captioned Amnesty et al. v McConnell and filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, argued that the eavesdropping law violated people's rights to free speech and privacy under the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution. The case was dismissed from the district court on the grounds that the plaintiffs could not prove their claims, but was revived in March 2011 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which disagreed. The subsequent citation was Amnesty v. Blair. On February 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit, deciding that the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue.
That sure is some twisted rigged system they got going. No way to lose!