The United States of Secrets

I do not have much time..

I did again run across this last night and thought it was worth sharing.

Tailored access

Snowden documents leaked to Der Spiegel in December 2013 describe a different type of NSA program from the sort that is usually publicized.

Rather than revealing software developed by the agency in order to access computers, these revelations describe a secret elite hacking unit, dubbed Tailored Access Operations, or TAO.

FRONTLINE asked security expert Bruce Schneier to break down its capabilities:

The NSA is thought to deploy the TAO unit for specific hard-to-get targets — for example, to hack systems, tap cellular phone networks, or intercept routers and servers at shipping ports — in order to implant them with surveillance devices.

Still, the extent of the unit’s capabilities remain somewhat unknown.

TAO is apparently a mystery even to many NSA employees, who require special security clearance to get access to its command center at the NSA’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland.

Related: How the NSA Can Get on Your Computer

Related: How the NSA Can Access Your iPhone

frontline link

A little more on this subject.

This weekend, U.S. President Barack Obama sat down for a series of meetings with China’s newly appointed leader, Xi Jinping. We know that the two leaders spoke at length about the topic du jour — cyber-espionage — a subject that has long frustrated officials in Washington and is now front and center with the revelations of sweeping U.S. data mining. The media has focused at length on China’s aggressive attempts to electronically steal U.S. military and commercial secrets, but Xi pushed back at the “shirt-sleeves” summit, noting that China, too, was the recipient of cyber-espionage. But what Obama probably neglected to mention is that he has his own hacker army, and it has burrowed its way deep, deep into China’s networks.
When the agenda for the meeting at the Sunnylands estate outside Palm Springs, California, was agreed to several months ago, both parties agreed that it would be a nice opportunity for President Xi, who assumed his post in March, to discuss a wide range of security and economic issues of concern to both countries. According to diplomatic sources, the issue of cybersecurity was not one of the key topics to be discussed at the summit. Sino-American economic relations, climate change, and the growing threat posed by North Korea were supposed to dominate the discussions.
Then, two weeks ago, White House officials leaked to the press that Obama intended to raise privately with Xi the highly contentious issue of China’s widespread use of computer hacking to steal U.S. government, military, and commercial secrets. According to a Chinese diplomat in Washington who spoke in confidence, Beijing was furious about the sudden elevation of cybersecurity and Chinese espionage on the meeting’s agenda. According to a diplomatic source in Washington, the Chinese government was even angrier that the White House leaked the new agenda item to the press before Washington bothered to tell Beijing about it.

foreign policy article

I have to run to work… I do not even have time to add tags or other stuff. The frontline as well as other link are very good if you are looking to understand what is going on to a small degree.

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