Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government Privacy Social Networks United States

Discovering NSA Code Names Via LinkedIn 201

Posted by timothy
from the knew-linked-in-had-to-be-good-for-something dept.
Okian Warrior writes with this news as reported by TechDirt: "The Washington Post revealed some of the code names for various NSA surveillance programs, including NUCLEON, MARINA and MAINWAY. Chris Soghoian has pointed out that a quick LinkedIn search for profiles with codenames like MARINA and NUCLEON happens to turn up profiles like this one which appear to reveal more codenames: 'Skilled in the use of several Intelligence tools and resources: ANCHORY, AMHS, NUCLEON, TRAFFICTHIEF, ARCMAP, SIGNAV, COASTLINE, DISHFIRE, FASTSCOPE, OCTAVE/CONTRAOCTAVE, PINWALE, UTT, WEBCANDID, MICHIGAN, PLUS, ASSOCIATION, MAINWAY, FASCIA, OCTSKYWARD, INTELINK, METRICS, BANYAN, MARINA.' TRAFFICTHIEF, eh? WEBCANDID? Hmm... Apparently, NSA employees don't realize that information they post online can be revealed."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Discovering NSA Code Names Via LinkedIn

Comments Filter:
  • by Picass0 (147474) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @01:39PM (#44252861) Homepage Journal

    >> "Hmm... Apparently, NSA employees don't realize that information they post online can be revealed."

    I admit to laughing at this.

    • by Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @01:41PM (#44252905) Homepage
      First thing I thought was pay back is a bitch.
      • by dywolf (2673597) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @02:48PM (#44253703)

        first thing i thought was red herring

        • >first thing i thought was red herring ...And then you changed your linkedin profile, and posted this huh?
        • by dkf (304284)

          first thing i thought was red herring

          My first thought was "anchovy" (and so my second thought was "pizza!") but then I read the list again more carefully.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        First thing I thought was pay back is a bitch.

        Yeah, because knowing there's a project called "DISHFIRE" is so utterly helpful to figuring out what they're doing. Because we all live in conspiracy theorist wish fulfillment movies where this one grizzled screwball is screaming about how he knew there was something called "DISHFIRE", and why didn't we believe him before, and now we can stop it... somehow... whatever it is.

        On a side note, though, "DISHFIRE" is an incredibly hilarious name for just about any project.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 11, 2013 @04:34PM (#44254783)

          Yeah, because knowing there's a project called "DISHFIRE" is so utterly helpful to figuring out what they're doing. Because we all live in conspiracy theorist wish fulfillment movies where this one grizzled screwball is screaming about how he knew there was something called "DISHFIRE", and why didn't we believe him before, and now we can stop it... somehow... whatever it is.

          The names are mostly random because they don't necessarily bear any resemblance to the projects.

          But having a publicly-trawlable bunch of data that links real-world humans, their real-world qualifications, and the projects that they've been read in on, however, is precisely the sort of social graph that an adversary could use to figure out what the codenamed projects are actually all about.

          If there are dozens of cunning linguists and digital signal processing experts working on DEATHSTAR, and all the people who list MSPACMAN happen to have oceanography backgrounds or prior experience at companies that make precision optics, it doesn't take a genius to see that despite their names, DEATHSTAR is the project that's more likely to be NSA Line Eater [catb.org], and MSPACMAN the project that involves sharks with frickin' lasers on their heads.

          • by Luyseyal (3154)

            Heh, someone the other day was trying to convince me about the 1970s speech recognition program. I was rather skeptical. Glad to see I'm not the only one.

            -l

        • by 1s44c (552956)

          DISHFIRE is just the NSA's experimental fast dishwasher project. It cost $10 Billion and doesn't actually work.

          Or it might actually be something to do with satellite dishes.

        • It isn't just the names that are revealed. You can infer from the profiles quite a bit of information about what these programs are used for. Take quotes like these (from various public posts):

          Utilized ANCHORY/MAUI reporting database to correlate and verify target selections.
          Utilized AIRGAP for discovery of priority targets within the missions AOI.
          Used Marina as a tracking and pattern of life tool on selected targets within the missions AOI.
          Used Marina as a raw SIGINT data viewer for detection and analysis

    • by icebike (68054)

      >> "Hmm... Apparently, NSA employees don't realize that information they post online can be revealed."

      I admit to laughing at this.

      Or perhaps these are designed and planted to attract people interested in these acronyms and program names to lure them into some sort of trap, or merely to record who looked at these profiles.

      Ah, ok, I'll go take my meds now. Latr, but remember: fcsjkeaw jlcekfw6eh ae nasje ki4tsvt!

      • by SJHillman (1966756) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @02:04PM (#44253207)

        People will keep looking until they find something. Give them what they wanted to find and they'll stop looking.

        • by Cenan (1892902)

          Congress will keep looking until it's too much like work and they give up. Give them anything and they'll stop looking. From there it's just the whistleblowers that are left

          Fixed to reflect new data.

      • by Dishevel (1105119)

        fcsjkeaw jlcekfw6eh ae nasje ki4tsvt!

        Hey!

        This is /.
        ROT 13 and its multiples are the only acceptable encryption types to be used here.
        So.
        ROT 0
        ROT 13
        ROT 26
        ROT 39 and so on.
        Get your semi effective encryption out of here.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 11, 2013 @01:56PM (#44253125)

      I really need a job. So, I figured I could pose as an NSA person. And when a potential employer calls for a reference, they'll just say, "We cannot confirm nor deny that he worked here."

      My job description could be ANYTHING. I could make up ANYTHING.

      Skilled in intelligence platforms such as: BANANA, MACARONI, METRICS, SAES, SPURIOUS, HEX, SEX, LEXX, PECS.

      Programmed in Python, Jython, NSAthon.

      Designed and developed a super computer that has broken all records.

    • by 1s44c (552956) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @04:46PM (#44254919)

      I laughed until I realized that these are the people who have legal permission to force IT giants to do whatever they want.

      The world is screwed.

  • by Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @01:40PM (#44252873) Homepage
    To me this sounds like it is time to file a bunch of freedom of information act requests. The bigger question is what if anything will the media do with this newf ound info.
    • by alphatel (1450715) * on Thursday July 11, 2013 @02:50PM (#44253721)

      To me this sounds like it is time to file a bunch of freedom of information act requests. The bigger question is what if anything will the media do with this newf ound info.

      I requested more info for you, here is some you should enjoy
      http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/716069/boozallenhamiltonnsa.pdf [documentcloud.org]

      Apparently Booz employees forgot that their cloud documents are.... well, public

      • by pellik (193063)
        That pdf is just someone copy/pasting keywords they recognize but apparently don't understand. For example they are looking for experience with penetration testing, and then the next requirement is pen testing. Reverse Engineering comes up twice in the same list. It's so repetitive that I'm just not sure I can believe this is a legitimate document of any sort.
        • by dbIII (701233)
          From your description it sounds like something that could have been put together by just about anybody in HR on the planet on a bad day. Cutting and pasting while distracted by Facebook games seems to be the job description of many.
        • by turp182 (1020263)

          There are grammatical errors as well, the word "suit" was used when "suite" should have been, my mind tripped over the error.

    • by pellik (193063)
      My bet is they will talk about Snowden some more.
    • by PopeRatzo (965947)

      The bigger question is what if anything will the media do with this newfound info.

      Considering how the press reacted to Edward Snowden's revelations, they will probably ask the question, "Should LinkedIn be prosecuted for leaking this information?" and, "Is LinkedIn a traitor?"

      • Obviously they aren't checking LinkedIn enough.... They will need to re-double their efforts to make sure we are safe from the terrororororists. And while they are at it they may have to disappear a few people, since they didn't make it to an enemy state.

  • Because if so, how is it even possible for someone at the NSA to get this bored while listening to everyone's phone calls?

    • by SJHillman (1966756) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @02:09PM (#44253253)

      The government retains a crack team of acronymists. They spend days laboring over each acronym making it perfect. Some examples

      MANPADS (Man-portable air defense system)
      DILDO (Direct Input Limited Duty Officer)
      ASSBAG (Airframe Structure Support Boeing Advisory Group)

      **I didn't make these up, there are sources for them but that would take more effort than Slashdot is accustomed to. Plus I accidentally closed those tabs already.

  • Simple explanation (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @01:43PM (#44252945) Journal

    Project code names are not classified, ever. Every project has a unclassified code name like any of the above which can be used for things like budgeting and frankly, resumes. A guy I know tried to get "FLUFFY BUNNY" approved as a code name, but they denied it. The easy way to tell, is that unclassified code names are single words chosen by a random computer word generator, and the classified code names are always 2 words, chosen again by a random computer word generator.

    While this may be interesting, the reality of the Fort Meade area is that any job in intelligence, analysis, or IT with a location of Fort Meade or Annapolis Junction, MD is a NSA job. Some of them even post on Craigslist [craigslist.org] and one time, I had a Facebook add pop up that said "Want an NSA Clearance?" (not a typo, the company messed up their grammar).

    • by TheNinjaroach (878876) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @01:53PM (#44253091)

      Want an NSA Clearance?

      That grammar is not incorrect. Phonetically, the "N" begins with a vowel sound so "an NSA" is correct.

      • That grammar is correct. Phonetically, the "N" begins with a vowel sound so "an NSA" is correct.

        FTFY - Grammar police should endeavor to avoid use of the double negative.

    • by heypete (60671) <pete@heypete.com> on Thursday July 11, 2013 @01:57PM (#44253147) Homepage

      I had a Facebook add pop up that said "Want an NSA Clearance?" (not a typo, the company messed up their grammar).

      According to Purdue [purdue.edu], words that start with consonants may be preceded with "an" if they have a "vowel sounds". They give the example of "an MSDS" and "an SPCC". Similarly, words that start with vowels but have consonant sounds use "a" [purdue.edu].

      I'm no expert in grammar, but it seems possible that "an NSA clearance" may be correct.

      Any experts want to chime in?

      • by BForrester (946915) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @02:08PM (#44253243)

        You're mostly right.
          - "Want a NSA clearance?" is incorrect.
          - "Want an NSA clearance?" is better.
          - "Want NSA clearance?" would be better still. There's no need for an article at all.

        • : ( Okay: 1. The first IS incorrect. 2. The second is not. 3. The third is not actually better, but an alternative to 2. which, for use of separate grammar, has a totally different meaning. Jus' sayin'. : D
      • by TheCarp (96830)

        I took french in High school, where consonant endings can run into the next word if it beings with a vowel sound (not just letter). In fact, even if the preceeding word has a silent consonant (the french seem to love silent consonants) they will pronounce it to make the connection.... So it always annoys me listening to the local NPR station as the restaurant "Chez Henri" is pronounced "Shay Enri", which would normally be correct for each word but, when taken together it should be pronounced more like a sin

        • Chez Henri" is pronounced "Shay Enri", which would normally be correct for each word but, when taken together it should be pronounced more like a single word "ShayzEnri"

          It annoys you because you're not familiar with what the letter h actually does in French. Sometimes — remember, this is French, so you'll always have a nice list of exceptions to cram into your brain —, words that begin with an h (1) will mean that there is a glottal stop, word initially.

          Try comparing the phrases "sept amis" and "sept héros" and you'll understand what I'm talking about. It's impossible for a native speaker to pronounce the latter "saitero" No, sir, they'll always say "

        • Your explanation is fine, but your example is wrong. The silent 'z' in this case would never make the "liaison". But a silent 't' or 's' might. "Ils sont abondants" would likely be said "ilsontabondan".

      • I really wasn't sure, grammar wise. All I knew is that some sub-contractor was so desperate for employees that they posted Facebook ads.

      • You're completely right. Whether we use a or an depends on what sound comes after it. The letter itself doesn't matter, because a letter that is a vowel can sill begin with a consonant sound-wise, and vice versa.

        E.g. : "a university" but "an umbrella"

        Remember: language is first and foremost spoken. Letters are scriptural elements, and as such, weigh much less in the language balance.
    • "The rule is that you use a before words that start with a consonant sound and an before words that start with a vowel sound."

      It's all about sound. "N" is pronounced "En." Hence, "an."

      Grammar Girl: http://tinyurl.com/nuj8h5a [tinyurl.com]

    • by H0p313ss (811249)

      The easy way to tell, is that unclassified code names are single words chosen by a random computer word generator, and the classified code names are always 2 words, chosen again by a random computer word generator.

      That doesn't match my experience, but times change.

    • by darthscsi (144954)

      So debian release names are unclassified and Ubuntu release names are classified. Makes sense.

    • If you know the project name, you can make an FOIA request.
  • Black Briar (Score:4, Funny)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @01:48PM (#44253009) Journal

    Treadstone

    • Treadstone is all but decommissioned at this point.

      But Black Briar... really feel has good traction. It's got legs. It'll run and run.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 11, 2013 @01:49PM (#44253023)

    So long as CODE NIGHTMARE GREEN, MAGINOT BLUE STARS, and SCORPION STARE aren't on the list, I'm happy.

    Well, happier.

    Well, less unhappy.

    • by lgw (121541)

      SCORPION STARE was disappointing anyhow. I want a room where any camera in the panopticon state can be displayed on the wall monitor, and I want a basilisk in that room! Hand camera-weapons just seem so ... everyday.

    • GORGON STARE is real.

  • Awesome! I don't work for the NSA, but I do use ARCMAP....although Esri would prefer it spelled "ArcMap". It's common GIS software, not a NSA program.
    • by T.E.D. (34228)
      That brings us to three now (ArcMap, Banyan, & NavInt) that are known to not be NSA code names. It would be funny if the entire list was in fact known commercial technical terms and/or government divisions.
      • by oodaloop (1229816)
        AMHS is not a code name either. It's Automated Message Handling System, a common tool analysts of many kinds use throughout the community (IAA Intelligence Analyst). Intelink is just a website with various tools and info. Kind of silly to list it, IMHO, because everyone should be familiar with it. Job descriptions frequently list tools candidates are expected to use. My resume includes perhaps two dozen. I recognize a few of those names. The name by itself is unclassified. What it does is not. There's not
    • by mysidia (191772)

      Awesome! I don't work for the NSA, but I do use ARCMAP....although Esri would prefer it spelled "ArcMap". It's common GIS software, not a NSA program.

      But there might be more than one ARCMAP. If you rearrange the letters you get "PAM CAR"

      Makes perfect sense.... a mod_car.... CAR module for PAM could have its benefits....

      /etc/pam.d/gate auth required pam_car.so plate_models_db=/etc/licenseplate_models_numbers_allow.db

  • arcmap (Score:4, Informative)

    by hackula (2596247) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @01:55PM (#44253121)
    Arcmap is the unofficial name for ESRI's flagship product ArcGIS Desktop.
    • by mjwx (966435)

      Arcmap is the unofficial name for ESRI's flagship product ArcGIS Desktop.

      Not quite,

      ArcMap is a component of ArcGIS. There is an ArcMap.exe.

  • > Used a variety of tools and data to provide advanced threat warnings to American civilian, government, and military personnel He can't possible be thinking of getting a better job with that line on his linkedin profile. That's so last-decade.
  • by Hentes (2461350) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @02:35PM (#44253547)

    All these skills and he still didn't figure out how to turn off capslock.

  • Because this THIS is revealing state secrets for personal gain, which is worse, much worse than what Manning, Snowden Tice , Drake , Klein, Binney , Kiriakou

    http://www.businessinsider.com/nsa-whistleblower-william-binney-was-right-2013-6 [businessinsider.com]

    Tice,
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/01/21/687340/-Exposed-NSA-Watching-Everything-on-Anyone-Illegally-Updated-x3# [dailykos.com]

    Drake,
    http://www.whistleblower.org/action-center/save-tom-drake [whistleblower.org]

    Kline,
    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9135645/The_NSA_wiretapping_story_nobody_wanted [computerworld.com]

    Kir

  • Or those tools aren't secret. They're just not public knowledge.
  • Kinda surprised this isn't linked yet (as all you need to do is paste the string into Google)

    Make of this [linkedin.com] what you will.

    (Do I worry about being woken at 3 in the morning with a gun in my face? Well, yes, I do).

  • There are online references to many; maybe all these names to be found.

    ANCHORY www.fas.org/irp/program/disseminate/anchory.htm Jan 29, 1998 - ANCHORY, formerly known as the SIGINT Online Intelligence System, is an NSA database of SIGINT-derived information. Access to the ...

    DODIIS AMHS (Automatic Message Handling System) www.fas.org/irp/program/disseminate/amhs.htm Jan 26, 2000 - The Automated Message Handling System (AMHS) provides a user-friendly means to send and receive messages via the Automated

Any given program, when running, is obsolete.

Working...