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December 30, 2013

Good News: The NSA Can Hack Every iPhone, Remotely

I cannot summarize this article because I don't understand it, beyond the headline information.

"DROPOUT JEEP is a software implant for the Apple iPhone that utilizes modular mission applications to provide specific SIGINT functionality. This functionality includes the ability to remotely push/pull files from the device. SMS retrieval, contact list retrieval, voicemail, geolocation, hot mic, camera capture, cell tower location, etc. Command, control and data exfiltration can occur over SMS messaging or a GPRS data connection. All communications with the implant will be covert and encrypted."

I believe this is part of an elite NSA hacking group called either QUANTUM or QUANTUMTHEORY. I am not sure they're connected, but they have similar names, and similar missions. Der Spiegel has a long article on their capabilities.

ake, 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.

These minor disruptions in the parcel shipping business rank among the “most productive operations” conducted by the NSA hackers, one top secret document relates in enthusiastic terms. This method, the presentation continues, allows TAO to obtain access to networks “around the world.”

I'm not so certain I am worried about this. I keep saying this, but we went through this in the 1970s, when the nation got upset about how the CIA had been conducing itself.

The NSA said approximately that in its defense:

Responding to a query from SPIEGEL, NSA officials issued a statement saying, "Tailored Access Operations is a unique national asset that is on the front lines of enabling NSA to defend the nation and its allies." The statement added that TAO's "work is centered on computer network exploitation in support of foreign intelligence collection." The officials said they would not discuss specific allegations regarding TAO's mission.

Are we really upset to discover that the national security apparatus has been thinking up new ways to spy on targets?

If so -- what did everyone think we were paying them to do, exactly?


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posted by Ace at 06:18 PM

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