Jacob Appelbaum, Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach, Christian Stöcker, Jörg Schindler And Holger Stark reporting for Spiegel on the NSA TAO operations:

A comprehensive internal presentation titled “QUANTUM CAPABILITIES,” which SPIEGEL has viewed, lists virtually every popular Internet service provider as a target, including Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter and YouTube. “NSA QUANTUM has the greatest success against Yahoo, Facebook and static IP addresses,” it states. The presentation also notes that the NSA has been unable to employ this method to target users of Google services. Apparently, that can only be done by Britain’s GCHQ intelligence service, which has acquired QUANTUM tools from the NSA.

And:

Take, for example, when they intercept shipping deliveries. If a target person, agency or company orders a new computer or related accessories, for example, TAO can divert the shipping delivery to its own secret workshops. The NSA calls this method interdiction. At these so-called “load stations,” agents carefully open the package in order to load malware onto the electronics, or even install hardware components that can provide backdoor access for the intelligence agencies. All subsequent steps can then be conducted from the comfort of a remote computer.

The last quote makes a lot of sense, and is likely the reason why people like Schneier went and bought a computer from a store with cash as it’s not likely to have been intercepted. The first quote block though shows the amazing toolset at the TAO’s disposal.


Posted by Ben Brooks