back to article How the NSA hacks PCs, phones, routers, hard disks 'at speed of light': Spy tech catalog leaks

A leaked NSA cyber-arms catalog has shed light on the technologies US and UK spies use to infiltrate and remotely control PCs, routers, firewalls, phones and software from some of the biggest names in IT. The exploits, often delivered via the web, provide clandestine backdoor access across networks, allowing the intelligence …

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    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      "If traffic is encrypted it will be TCP."

      You, sir, are full of it.

      1. GrahamsTenPenneth

        I was pointing out that encrypted traffic is generally over TCP, not that not is not possible to encrypt UDP traffic.

  1. croc

    September 11 2001 is a day that will go down in infamy.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who actually makes all this stuff?

    Have NSA/GCHQ collected the finest engineers of the age? Dose it take genius?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Who actually makes all this stuff?

      MWAHAHA! World domination.

      Maybe they already have full AIs in their cellars.

      But yeah, we need to find actual instances of this GOODSTUFF.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who actually makes all this stuff?

        Obviously, I'm not going to be a part of that: I can't even spell "does!"

  3. GrahamsTenPenneth

    There are 10 types of people in the world...

    We've heard it all before.

  4. Andy 70

    the tech equivilent of run for the hills?

    maybe it's time to un-mothball the ol' amiga 3000...

    an ancient relic of a more civilized age....

  5. Tom 13

    Well, that settles it, I'm safe.

    I might be worth $10K to take out a contract with a mob hit guy, but there's not way to justify spending $200,000 to get little old me.

    Seriously people: read the numbers do some thinking. At the cost per op to use any of these gadgets it has to be reviewed at multiple layers in the government agency. Which means they aren't trawling for ordinary people. Ordinary people might accidentally get caught up in it and that will be bad for them. But ordinary people are always getting caught up in bad things big _______ are involved in. That blank can be filled in with governments, businesses, drug deals, terrorism, or labor unions.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      Re: Well, that settles it, I'm safe.

      You could be within 3 hops of somebody who knows a designated "bad guy". Or you could join an activist organization that the Five Eyes have targeted, perhaps because you strongly believe that snooping is wrong. Or you could end up with gray market gear that the Five Eyes have already compromised. Or you or someone close to you could be the new paramour of a Five Eyes employees ex-squeeze, and he's the jealous type. Or the NSA & friends can continue to develop new capabilities thanks to Moore's law, and it gets cheap enough to snoop that it's worth spending more effort looking at you in particular.

    2. Don Jefe

      Re: Well, that settles it, I'm safe.

      It isn't a question of targeting regular people, it's about collecting and storing data to be used after a target has been identified. You're correct that the costs of targeted mass surveillance would be extreme, but those costs aren't present when you're just collecting everything.

      The assumption you might do something bad one day is in direct opposition to a democracy, a government of the people. This is no different than stockpiling weapons you migh use one day, but in the case of US and UK surveillance it's weapons to be used against their own people. It's bullshit.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i find al this a tad amusing, I actually couldn't give a rats arse what government agency is doing to monitor me, just so long as that information is NOT sold to some of the biggest scum-bag corporations of this wonderful world.

    its an interesting debate though, I mean on one hand we have our privacy an on the other the potential to stop harm to some/all of us.

    I don't think there is a clear answer to this as there are big benefits to both ways of looking at it and there are big pitfalls as well.

    Tell you want though, the information gained via store loyalty / club cards can be used to a much more personal and invasive level than anything the government slurps up, assuming your not putting yourself out there as some neo-Nazi terrorist that is!

    Wouldn't it be wrong for say, a big supermarket to analyse your spending patterns and statistically determine your ....lets say Gay, then use facial recognition to link your picture to your Purchases and then to sell the whole dam lot to anyone who wants to pay for it, scary and yet true...

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Is this a new variant of "I have noting to hide, so I have nothing to fear"?

      Charming, charming.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        In a nutshell. Not i'ts not big corporations and weak copyright.

        Interview with NSA Whistleblower Bill Binney: Afraid We’re Spreading Secret Government Around World

        The FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency, and law enforcement, along with the NSA, are collecting information on Americans and then using that information to arrest people. “Parallel construction” is then used to “fabricate evidence” that is substituted with evidence that is subsequently collected legally and through mechanisms that have traditionally been an accepted part of criminal investigations.

        In former senior NSA employee and whistleblower William Binney’s view, this is the “real problem.” It is occurring without a warrant and they can bring this information into court. He calls it the “planned program perjury policy right out of the Department of Justice.”

        ...

        Finally, in his opinion, data on US citizens needs to stop being collected indiscriminately. How law enforcement uses this data needs to be addressed.

        “They’re all talking about NSA analysts and to me that’s not the real threat. The real threat comes from those other people, who can come at you with guns and put you in a prison and take you off without due process.”

        Enjoy your comfy sofa, gently lulled by the TV, chuckling to yourself.

    2. Don Jefe

      I must congratulate you AC, for your truly stunning leap across the wall of logic and straight into the moat of lunacy. Congratulations!

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        If you Well Swim All is OK in Darker Web Ventures

        Congratulations ,.... and Welcome, D J?;-)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      you know its not as far fetched as you make out, the supermarket club card thing. speaking from the inside things like this are done and are planned to be much more in your face in the future.

      statistical analysis of customers doesn't always work but it is alarmingly accurate and facial recognition is already in the pipe line and in some cases already being used, you may laugh now but don't be surprised to find this being used a lot in the future, the AC is right, id never recommend a club/loyalty card to anyone.

  7. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Stop

    Alarmist much?

    WTF was that last bit of bleating in the second and last paragraph? ".....one wonders how much kit is out there on eBay and with dealers that still contains examples of ANT's intrusive craft....." I'd say the likely hood is very small to nonexistent, for three very good reasons. As you grudgingly admitted earlier in the article - ".....most of these techniques are used against highly targeted individuals rather than everyone en mass...." - which means there is very little of this high-tech spying going on in the first place; it is being done against the type of people that most likely do not put their old kit on eBay; and the NSA and GCHQ both have a policy of collecting up kit when they can. But I suppose that doesn't fit with the aim of stirring the herd into a frenzy?

    1. BlueGreen

      Re: Alarmist much? @Plump & Bleaty

      Hoy lambchop, your grasp of facts is shaky but your understanding of human nature is truly negligable. Two words: power corrupts.

      I repeat, you are the biggest, fattest, bleatiest sheep around as well as being most ill-mannered.

      I also notice you've still not replied to my posts on the other thread (any reason for that?), get back there and leave the people here alone.

      Signed, BlueGreenLyingLoser (I shall treasure your new nickname for me once I've picked the grass, ticks and sheep droppings off it)

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: LyingLoser Re: Alarmist much? @Plump & Bleaty

        "...... power corrupts....." What, was that supposed to be some form of deep insight? I note you are unable to even discuss the three points i raised, let alone debate them. Face it, Loser, your daft bleating would be a lot more convincing if you hadn't destroyed any credibility in the idea that you had been any closer to power than your Mom's electricity bill. In answer to every argument you do nothing more than childishly rebleat canned buzzphrases, if that is you even manage to mount any form of reply. You insist on posting knee jerk drivel in any forum I post in, mindlessly taking an opposing view for no other reason than you just can't get over being proven wrong so often. Please take your failure elsewhere as it has passed from mildly amusing to become a tragic display of inept and unquestioning groupthink. You're probably even beginning to embarrass the other sheeple.

        1. BlueGreen

          Re: LyingLoser Alarmist much? @Plump & Bleaty

          > "...... power corrupts....." What, was that supposed to be some form of deep insight?

          Not particularly deep, but accurate and with predictive power. That you don't recognise this (along with other 'deep' insights such as "They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither") makes my point perfectly - you have minimal grasp of human nature.

          > unable to even discuss the three points i raised

          Why should I debate with someone to whom twisting facts, making unsubstantiated claims or simply denying what's inconvenient are acceptable tactics?

          > Face it, Loser, your daft bleating [...] embarrass the other sheeple.

          MBZCC

          Get back to the other thread and answer the questions and post the references required, lambchop.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: LyingLoser Alarmist much? @Plump & Bleaty

            ".....Not particularly deep, but accurate and with predictive power......" LOL, what a cop out! Following your own warped logic (and ignoring people come in all shapes and sizes and have different morals, egos and motivators), you would have to assume ANY person that gets into power is therefore guaranteed to inevitably go off the rails and become a power-crazed crook. Which of course leaves the only option as a complete dismantling of society (society is the root of power and of politics) so we can avoid any chance of such corruption. So you'll be off to live in your bunker in the hills in Montana then, I assume? Fail!

            "....That you don't recognise this....you have minimal grasp of human nature....." What I recognise is that you cannot actually argue the points, just rebleat soundbites and buzzphrases. I assume this is because you are the one with no understanding of human nature, probably through limited interaction with actual adults.

            "....Why should I debate with someone to whom twisting facts, making unsubstantiated claims or simply denying what's inconvenient are acceptable tactics?...." So you can't debate the points raised. Just admit it, it will save a lot of time and stop you looking so silly for you to just be honest for a change.

            "....Get back to the other thread....." Aw, are you hurting from losing so badly in this thread too? I would have thought you'd be used to it by now. ROFLMAO!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: LyingLoser Alarmist much? @Plump & Bleaty

              "Following your own warped logic (and ignoring people come in all shapes and sizes and have different morals, egos and motivators), you would have to assume ANY person that gets into power is therefore guaranteed to inevitably go off the rails and become a power-crazed crook."

              History DOES seem to indicate this to be the eventual result of ANY civilization: eventually, the power gravitates like a black hole until it starts to become a black hole: collapsing in on itself. Thing is, anarchy doesn't usually follow because a rival power usually fills the vacuum pretty quickly. The end result is either a repressive, power-hungry regime (like China and the Soviet Union) or a splintering followed by a shuffle of power, from which things start up again (like the Dark Ages).

              Sure, you can have moments of enlightenment, but they are few and far between, and without an occasional influx of fresh enlightenment, natural human instinct begins to decay at the foundations.

            2. BlueGreen

              Re: LyingLoser Alarmist much? @Plump & Bleaty

              > you would have to assume ANY person that gets into power is therefore guaranteed to inevitably go off the rails and become a power-crazed crook

              Comparing the number of benevolent to tyrannical dictatorships in the world, which is the greater, plumps? You still don't get it, lambchop, but Farmer Knows Best eh.

              > Which of course leaves the only option as a complete dismantling of society [...] so we can avoid any chance of such corruption

              society <> government, lambkins, even if one can arise from the other.

              > What I recognise is [...] with actual adults. & So you can't [...] for a change.

              MBZCC x 2.

              > So you'll be off to live in your bunker in the hills in Montana then, I assume? Fail!

              <giggle> Not very observant are you.

              > Aw, are you hurting from losing so badly in this thread too?

              :-)

              1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                FAIL

                Re: Pitiful LyingLoser Alarmist much? @Plump & Bleaty

                "....Comparing the number of benevolent to tyrannical dictatorships in the world...." Why the World, why not simply just look at Europe? By your insistance, EVERY state in the EU just must be a dictatorship rather than a functioning democracy, right? So, Germany doesn't have an elective democracy? Hmm, but it does. Same goes for France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Denmark - oops, I don't seem to be able to find any undemocratic dictators in Europe, despite your insistance that they MUST be there. Oh, was that your whole argument going down the pan?

                ".... You still don't get it...." It is very obvious that you are incapable of "getting it", you simple prefer to give in to irrational fear. I pity you.

                1. BlueGreen

                  Re: Pitiful LyingLoser Alarmist much? @Plump & Bleaty

                  I can't consider a government to be properly democratic when they build sophisticated and comprehensive interception into the web and try their best to conceal it from the populace (very successfully until recently too). The people need to have some idea of what's going on so they can choose alternatives. So IMO it's not a true democracy. But it's reassuring for bleaty conformist sheepies like you, right?

                  The point about power corrupts - read this carefully, I'm going to spell it out for you - is that this interception is a kind of power and this power will be subverted from 'finding terrorists' to 'finding violent criminals and peedos' to ''finding domestic criminals' to 'trawling for potential criminal behaviour' to 'trawling for political dissent'. That's what you don't 'get'. That's what you'll never 'get', I think.

                  BTW that's what will happen in our & other western countries. Any idea how quickly they'll reach the final stage in repressive regimes e.g. china?

                  1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                    FAIL

                    Re: Pitiful LyingLoser Alarmist much? @Plump & Bleaty

                    "I can't consider a government to be properly democratic when they build sophisticated and comprehensive interception into the web...." All you are doing is demonstrating that you do not understand what democratic means - it is not a government that reflects the views and actions you alone feel right but the will of the majority, nothing to do with "interception". And it is very clear from the article they are not building interception "into the Web" but into a very small and targeted set of individuals. Try READING the article before bleating.

                    ".....The people need to have some idea of what's going on so they can choose alternatives....." What you just can't get your noodle round is that your fantasy viewpoint is firmly in the tiny minority, otherwise the irate mobs would be storming Number 10 and Whitehall and demanding GCHQ was burnt to the ground. And as for "some idea of what's going on", the fact is there were plenty of us with a clue (so not including you) that found Snowden's "revelations" as just mildly interesting, having seen plenty of evidence over the years. It's not my fault if you lived with your head in the sand.

                    ".....this interception is a kind of power and this power will be subverted from 'finding terrorists' to 'finding violent criminals and peedos' to ''finding domestic criminals' to 'trawling for potential criminal behaviour' to 'trawling for political dissent'....." Really? Except the "interceptions" (mainly just metadata collection, actually, not interceptions) have been going on for YEARS and there has not been one single incident of what you are insisting (based solely on your shrieking paranoia) should have been well evident by now. The reason it's not evident is because it only exists in the dim and dark recesses of the tiny minds of easily-led sheeple like you.

                    "....BTW that's what will happen in our & other western countries...." And your evidence for this is.... Oh, what a surprise, you have SFA evidence to back up that piece of fear-induced fantasy. Get a grip, get a clue, and get over yourself, you're simply not of any interest to ANYONE.

                    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                      Re: Pitiful LyingLoser Alarmist much? @Plump & Bleaty

                      ""I can't consider a government to be properly democratic when they build sophisticated and comprehensive interception into the web...." All you are doing is demonstrating that you do not understand what democratic means - it is not a government that reflects the views and actions you alone feel right but the will of the majority, nothing to do with "interception". And it is very clear from the article they are not building interception "into the Web" but into a very small and targeted set of individuals. Try READING the article before bleating."

                      ANY government made by man will, because of human instinct, repress SOMEONE by virtue of some concentration of power. Even a pure democracy introduces "tyranny of the majority". And as we've seen, republics and other representative governments limit the number of people powerful interests need to corrupt to get things done. Smaller oligarchies magnify that issue, and for a government of one...well, Machiavelli wrote a lot about that. In fact, a lack of government (anarchy) would inevitably result in a "survival of the fittest" scenario: itself repressive.

                      "".....The people need to have some idea of what's going on so they can choose alternatives....." What you just can't get your noodle round is that your fantasy viewpoint is firmly in the tiny minority, otherwise the irate mobs would be storming Number 10 and Whitehall and demanding GCHQ was burnt to the ground. And as for "some idea of what's going on", the fact is there were plenty of us with a clue (so not including you) that found Snowden's "revelations" as just mildly interesting, having seen plenty of evidence over the years. It's not my fault if you lived with your head in the sand."

                      Ever heard the phrase "bread and circuses". Sure, some of us are onto the idea, but NOT ENOUGH. It's one smart vote vs. ten dumb votes. The average person lacks the kind of mind capable of CARING about the loss of their own liberties and so on.

                      "".....this interception is a kind of power and this power will be subverted from 'finding terrorists' to 'finding violent criminals and peedos' to ''finding domestic criminals' to 'trawling for potential criminal behaviour' to 'trawling for political dissent'....." Really? Except the "interceptions" (mainly just metadata collection, actually, not interceptions) have been going on for YEARS and there has not been one single incident of what you are insisting (based solely on your shrieking paranoia) should have been well evident by now. The reason it's not evident is because it only exists in the dim and dark recesses of the tiny minds of easily-led sheeple like you."

                      Have you ever read 1984? Ever thought that when they want you gone, it won't be a public arrest in the street but rather you just vanish and become among the untold numbers simply "missing"?

                      "....BTW that's what will happen in our & other western countries...." And your evidence for this is.... Oh, what a surprise, you have SFA evidence to back up that piece of fear-induced fantasy. Get a grip, get a clue, and get over yourself, you're simply not of any interest to ANYONE.

                      Name ONE country that has maintained the same governmental structure and stability for more than 500 years (no changeovers of power between groups, no dynasty changes or the like). The United States is too young to qualify, England had a brief time without a kind almost 400 years ago, and Russia and China had Communist revolutions just in the last century. Inevitably, the gravitation of power combined with human instinct causes things to tip past the comfort zone. If it tips pretty early, you end up with minor upheavals that require reforms and the like to fix; on the outside, you may end up with something like a regime change. If the discontent builds too high, though, you either collapse into totalitarian regimes that squelch rebellion quick as a rule or breakups and shakeups that result in multiple new lands that split the power and start the cycle again.

                      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

                        Re: Pitiful LyingLoser Alarmist much? @Plump & Bleaty

                        ".....ANY government made by man will, because of human instinct, repress SOMEONE by virtue of some concentration of power....." So who is being repressed here? No-one, it's just in your fear-induced fantasies.

  8. Sean Timarco Baggaley
    Flame

    Am I the only person who understands the meaning of a certain three-letter word?

    The NSA, CIA and their ilk are SPY agencies!

    Spies.

    What makes you think the NSA or CIA (etc.) don't have agents inside these companies? It's a lot easier to find flaws in software or firmware when you can actually read the commented source code!

    It also means that it matters not one whit whether WD, HP, etc. are "aware" of any shenanigans as one of the golden rules of being a successful spy is that nobody knows you are one! All it would take is to install / bribe one or two employees in the right positions within each company and you're golden. Nobody else in the company would even know.

    Microsoft had (at last count) over 100000 employees. Even HP and Dell have thousands of employees spread all over the world. And, of course, the rise in outsourcing will have helped immensely as a single, well-placed spy in the right outsourcing company could give you any number of businesses on a plate.

    They're spy agencies! Spying is what these people do for a living. All day. All night. All the time. They're spying. Get it? What the blue blazes did you all think those thousands of spies actually do all day? Iron shirts? Mend wooden horses? What?

    Jesus Horatio Fogharty Christ on a flying fuckstick. This is a bloody IT website. You're supposed to be intelligent* readers! Even allowing for the intelligence-battering effects of the Internet, I can't seriously be the only one who wasn't even remotely surprised by any of these so-called "revelations"?

    * (Clearly for very small values of "intelligent".)

  9. Tom Chiverton 1

    Anyone else want to ask their IT equipment maker of choice if they've fixed the holes since 2008 ?

    I've started https://twitter.com/thefalken/status/418054762936799233 :-)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    China protecting its own?

    Perhaps this is the true use of the "Great Firewall of China", not restricting its citizens' access to the rest of the world, but restricting the rest of the world's access to Chinese data. Hell, perhaps we're the ones with the filtered access, not them!

  11. Flyberius
    Thumb Up

    I sense I will be voted down greatly for this. But whatever. This topic garners such one sided comments.

    We have spies! Proper freakin' spies. Clandestine operations and uber hacking on our behalf.

    I'm young, stupid and know no better, clearly, but as far as I know they haven't hurt me.

    So I'm happy to have an actual 'Q' (the newer younger one) on my side. So what if he can see my filthy porn habits, sees who I am stalking on facebook and knows which political parties I hate. I'm a mere statistic in a grand cyber war and probably a very typical and uninteresting statistic at that.

    I don't know how Hari Seldon is going to get his plan together without some good old fashioned data points.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Flyberius

      I think people like myself are worked up because

      A) we've been lied to repeatedly by the NSA & friends,

      B) we're wondering why they are keeping our data, when most of us are honest citizen types

      C) the NSA in particular is supposed to protect American IT networks, but obviously they would rather hoard vulnerabilities for later use

      D) the NSA is using its dual responsibility to vet IT security to insert new vulnerabilities into networks and gear.

      E) So far, the U.S. government doesn't seem to want to stop C & D

      F) The NSA & friends tactics are even more damaging to IT security than any black hat hacker group

      G) Their dirty tricks are making it out into the wild now

      H) Their actions are costing "the West" a lot of moral standing internationally

      I) Some of there uses of money seem pretty ridiculous, e.g. watching Second Life for jihadis

      J) They are watching NGOs, academics, everyone

      K) NSA buddies at GCHQ seem in particular to view their role in public civil liberty debate as being the umpires and timekeepers

      L) Blowback from their antics puts a lot of good companies and people's livelihoods at risk

      L) And we as taxpayers get to pay for it all

      There's more I could say, but have a downvote on me instead.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Flyberius

        Buw now ask yourself, "If not them, then WHO?" Because SOMEONE will own you, full stop. If not the NSA, then their Chinese or Russian counterparts. Who would you rather have see your details and link to whomever on a whim? Because they don't want to be one to explain they weren't watching the perfect sleeper agent until it was too late.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Flyberius

          @AC

          I don't think anybody here really disagrees with the idea that there is a need for spies and surveillance in the world, GIVEN THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES. These aren't those circumstances.

          As for getting owned by someone, sure, that happens. I however cling to the romantic notion that my government should help me to not get owned, instead of owning me themselves or putting more vulnerabilitiesout there so others can own me.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How is the NSA intercepting deliveries? Are Amazon and UPS complicit? The old wink and nod? Is this why the Christmas deliveries of so many Americans were delayed this year? Too many tablets in the mail?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wink, nod, and a threat of a trip to Gitmo, perhaps. Don't forget the stick as well as the carrot.

  13. henrydddd

    If anyone believes that the NSA is just trying to catch so called terrorists is a pretty stupid individual. It is only a matter of time before this spying is going to be used to catch enemies of the state such as people who disagree with what the government is doing. It might already be to late to stop these police state tactics.

  14. Breen Whitman

    At least it makes US drone attacks easier

    Combined with Google location data, the NSA would have no problem launching drone attacks on Kim Dotcom, US citizens that criticize their president, UK citizens etc.

    With the correct routers directing traffic to server, that could automatically launch the drone attack based on Google Location and NSA/Google algorithms.

  15. Nathan 13

    And we wonder why

    So many people hate the US/UK governments.

    Both countries people can only be pushed so far before a backlash will occur that the authorities will underestimate!!

  16. chrisp1141

    Privacy is more important now than ever before. We may not be able to hide from the NSA, but we can stop using sites like Facebook and Google. Just think about it. If you care so much about your privacy, if you are outraged by all of the NSA spying, then WHY are you using facebook and google. Those companies are just as bad, if not worse, than the NSA. This is why I advocate using privacy-based sites such as DuckDuckGo, Ravetree, HushMail, etc.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Back Doors

    They probably just have people they planted at all these tech companies that make the back doors part of the code. Then the company comes back and says to the same person, are there any back doors? Nope - no one here but us chickens.

  18. We're all in it together

    Humans distrusting humans

    Been happening since the year dot. These days it's mixed in with power and control and nasty weapons that can end the planet. But essentially there's nothing we can say or do that will change it. And on that note:-

    "Happy New year to everyone at the NSA and GCHQ"

    There you go. Didn't have to email them.

  19. GrahamsTenPenneth
    Black Helicopters

    I have a question....

    Do you know of anyone who has been affected by this surveillance?

    Anyone at all?

    The NSA do know how many times you masturbate, you know.

    If they see a change in your frequency and delivery an alarm goes off and they send the men in black.

    ...with a some porn mags

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Electronic privacy is dead. There's no putting the genie back in the bottle. If you want private communications speak with someone face to face or send a letter (if they're not intercepting those as well).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Post Office is almost certainly giving letters the once-over, probably with lights and other gear in an attempt to ascertain the contents.

      As for face to face, that's where ubiquitous surveillance cameras (not all public, but all accessible to The Law) and, at a stretch, aerial and satellite surveillance come in. Then there's the matter of those tiny mics they're developing to "detect gunshots" and the like...

  21. joe K 1

    The big picture

    Its funny how people are petrified about rogue NSA elements, for whatever reason hacking the average Joe's machine to install illicit material that he can be subsequently prosecuted in a bon fide court system for. Without acknowledging that Microsoft could do the same. Or Google. Or your building management agency. Or your work IT guy. Or your wife. Or your best friend. Or your frustrated teenage son.

    This discussion thread is fascinating, but its irritating to read weakly founded paranoid scenarios about how the govt can get you if they chose to. Seriously, if they want you out of the way, all it takes is a sliced brake fluid line. And if it's about blackmail, it's an over simplistic scenario to assume that only the govt would consider doing it. Very few people have genuine need to be concerned about governments hacking their electronic communications. And they can find other ways to go about their business. For the rest of us, its your responsibility to make educated judgment calls - while remembering that you're more likely to be killed by a drunk driver than falsely accused by the NSA. I estimated that last fact, but I'm happy enough believing it.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yo Ho Ho !!!

    What a farking xmas pressie. Think of all those lucrative contracts for making stuff supposedly secure, secure again! Who the hell is going to believe the new stuff is secure now, cans and worms keep coming :P Dovregubben

  23. JaitcH

    The Malaysian-Singapore-VietNam Cable has been down since before Christmas ...

    so I wonder if it was NSA/GCHQ at work again?

    VietNam also feeds InterNet to Kampuchea/Cambodia and Laos.

    Fortunately my office has an unauthorised satellite InterNet feed to/from HongKong ... all uncensored.

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