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NSA Infected 50,000 Computer Networks With Malicious Software

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  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @05:26PM (#45503567) Homepage Journal

    The NSA was conducting a military operation against an ally.

  • Act of war. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 23, 2013 @05:26PM (#45503571)

    Wasn't this exactly what the USA declared to be considered an act of war, that would justify retaliation with conventional weapons?

    • Re:Act of war. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 23, 2013 @05:36PM (#45503625)

      Probably. You have to remember that the government has different standards for others than for us. We don't care if we violate international law. We only care if others violate the rules we set (be they laws we set or otherwise).

    • don't be grandiose (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rewindustry (3401253) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @06:03PM (#45503817)

      these people are not warriors - they are parasites, and should be treated as such.

      it's simply criminal, they should go to jail, like all the rest.

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        This doesn't even touch the worst of it. There are now 50,000 compromised computer networks out there, there will be a mad rush by organised crime and various criminal organisation to find those, network time bombs and make use of them. Even fucking worse, these hacks on the odd occasion will have been planted on the networks of criminal organisations, so all they have to do is find them local, decode and then they will have the basis for the keys to 50,000 other networks. Those fucking morons have created

    • Re:Act of war. (Score:5, Informative)

      by NoKaOi (1415755) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @06:36PM (#45504025)

      Wasn't this exactly what the USA declared to be considered an act of war, that would justify retaliation with conventional weapons?

      And the people with political power are the ones who stand to get even richer if it does start another war (digital or conventional). They don't care who else dies or if the economy as a whole goes down the shitter as long as they make money. The US's defense budget is HUGE, how much of that goes to private contracts? In 2011, $374 billion went to private contracts, 15 times greater than any other US federal agency.

    • Re:Act of war. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 23, 2013 @06:47PM (#45504099)

      Wasn't this exactly what the USA declared to be considered an act of war, that would justify retaliation with conventional weapons?

      Exactly, all members of the NSA are guilty of high treason. Think about it, over the last several decades they have worked quietly behind the scenes to deliberately weaken all encryption algorithms and computer/electronic security.

      Every time a hospital or the electrical grid gets hacked and taken out of service, every time a rival hacks in and steals classified information from a government computer or trade secrets from a corporate one, every time someone's identity gets stolen, every time someone's computer gets infected by a virus, the NSA directly contributed to the ease by which this was done. That is IMHO directly supplying aid and comfort to enemies of the people.

    • No need to get to war. Just reject all government agreements with that hostile country, put your case in the ONU, La Haya or any other international entity related with this and rally the other affected countries to do the same, even put a trade embargo like the ones love to put. At the very least will serve to see which governments are in the bed with US in this, and would give their citizens a reason to kick them in the next election, as we know that the US people won't do that with their own government,
      • by sumdumass (711423)

        That would be impossible to happen. No other country has the military capabilities to forgo US aid in case of invasion from any number of outside threats. Russia could take most every European country should something like that happen and they were isolated from half of the western allies (Including European countries who didn't give in).

        Besides, the economic problems that would arise would be enough to stop most countries from doing that. It really just isn't realistic for it to happen.

  • by couchslug (175151) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @05:32PM (#45503609)

    It's reasonable to expect every intelligence agency to spy on anyone they can.

    Perhaps as regards governments the hypocrisy should be dropped, and caught spies simply traded for other caught spies as was Cold War custom. Business IS business, and trusting anyone, even "allies" (whatever that means) can be childish especially if they are penetrated by enemy operatives.

    How much we wish to restrain internal spying is another matter.

    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday November 23, 2013 @05:44PM (#45503707)

      It's reasonable to expect every intelligence agency to spy on anyone they can.

      Why is that "reasonable"? Shouldn't they be focusing their resources of groups/nations that present some threat to us?

      Business IS business, and trusting anyone, even "allies" (whatever that means) can be childish especially if they are penetrated by enemy operatives.

      Except that this hurts US businesses because now there will be more incentive for other nations (even friendly nations) to use something other than our products.

      Not to mention that "penetrated by enemy operatives" sounds more like a movie synopsis rather than a rational approach to international diplomacy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's reasonable to expect every intelligence agency to spy on anyone they can.

        Why is that "reasonable"? Shouldn't they be focusing their resources of groups/nations that present some threat to us?

        The idea there is that (for example) Israel *does* present a nuclear armed threat to America because they have a set of conventional and nuclear capabilities that *could* threaten American interests. For this reason paranoid (professional intelligence) people in the US want to know all the details of what and wher

      • by couchslug (175151)

        "Not to mention that "penetrated by enemy operatives" sounds more like a movie synopsis rather than a rational approach to international diplomacy."

        Such penetration was commonplace during the Cold War and no reason exists to believe it would stop since there is much to be gained from knowledge. International diplomacy should logically embrace the idea that there are "no friends or enemies, only interests" because it's really a bunch of different mobs cutting deals while vying for advantage.

        "Except that this

        • by khasim (1285)

          Such penetration was commonplace during the Cold War and no reason exists to believe it would stop since there is much to be gained from knowledge.

          Then you shouldn't have any problem naming two such incidents. So prove it.

          International diplomacy should logically embrace the idea that there are "no friends or enemies, only interests" because it's really a bunch of different mobs cutting deals while vying for advantage.

          Yeah. That's why we have that string of military bases along the US/Canada border.

          Seriously

          • by tftp (111690)

            Nothing about building it themselves? Or buying from a friendly nation that they trust NOT to spy on them like that?

            If if a nation cannot develop computer software then probably you shouldn't even bother spying upon them :-) But even if a target nation is not known for software prowess but still warrants spying (Pakistan, Iran?) they still have F/OSS that can be obtained from multiple servers, compared, reviewed, compiled, and code-signed. Unlike digging ditches, one programmer can supply software for un

          • by Aryden (1872756)

            Then you shouldn't have any problem naming two such incidents. So prove it.

            This is retarded to even think but, okay. In the real world, a friend today can become the enemy tomorrow. Not to mention, we actually get most of our best intelligence from our allies, whether they wish to give it to us or not.

            Yeah. That's why we have that string of military bases along the US/Canada border.

            We have 70+ military bases and installations along the Us/Canada border from Washington in the west to Maine in the east. Here [google.com]

            So cutting US exports is a good thing in your opinion? I would say that it was a problem. And why would the software from other nations be compatible with our software? And if it isn't then there is the problem with "lock in" and not much benefit from "competition".

            Why would it need to be compatible?

            Apple has been around for years and has a lot of money. And yet there are still times when dealing with a government agency or a private company that a Microsoft product is required. So why do you think that this situation will be improved by introducing MORE platforms that are intentionally incompatible?

            First of all, when the government began introducing computers into the common work environments, Apple was not a real comp

      • by forkazoo (138186)

        Why is that "reasonable"? Shouldn't they be focusing their resources of groups/nations that present some threat to us?

        Why wouldn't military allies pose a threat? Seriously, this is an incredibly naive view of the utility of intelligence. You think that a relatively small number of terrorists trying ineffectually to lob a few bombs is really the only major concern? Or even "partner/competitor" nations like China that have a single second hand aircraft carrier? No state military power is realistically goi

      • Why is that "reasonable"? Shouldn't they be focusing their resources of groups/nations that present some threat to us?

        The military definition of "threat" is based entirely on the CAPABILITIES of a nation/group, NOT on their intentions (stated or otherwise).

        In other words, EVERY other nation represents a "military threat" of one degree or another (yah, Somalia is a "threat" - a minute one, but not non-zero)....

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        Yes the UK and US have sold the world on Engima like units for crypto and told them to always trust the skilled US gov staff setting and testing US standards.
        Reality has now set in and many other contractors, nations, mil, groups within govs, cults, oligopolies, duopolies, cartels, faiths, criminals seem to be able to buy the same 'keys' for their own ends.
        The other aspect is who is testing all the countries crypto internally... how did all this US/UK crypto junk get passed the testing of top gov staff a
    • by Nyder (754090) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @05:53PM (#45503769) Journal

      It's reasonable to expect every intelligence agency to spy on anyone they can.

      Perhaps as regards governments the hypocrisy should be dropped, and caught spies simply traded for other caught spies as was Cold War custom. Business IS business, and trusting anyone, even "allies" (whatever that means) can be childish especially if they are penetrated by enemy operatives.

      How much we wish to restrain internal spying is another matter.

      Nothing the NSA has been doing is reasonable.

    • What about the people whose rights are trampled on by this? How about we treat spying on allies as a serious crime for which heads will roll like they should.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Any breach of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act will be dealt with swiftly and harshly. I'm sure the FBI is driving over there right now to investigate.

    • Your hand waving abilities are not as strong as you think. It's not reasonable to expect such behaviour. Regardless, it's not acceptable and that's what matters. I agree that acting shocked isn't going to help anyone's cause but something should be done to stop the NSA from being out of control.
  • I'm flashing back to that scene here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UKUGZz5Hjw [youtube.com]
  • by Qrypto (462155) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @05:43PM (#45503697)

    Did the NSA force AV companies to not track the NSA virus, then keep it "legally" secret?

  • These are the two options of how to classify this thing. It is not really possible to get more evil in nature, just in scale.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 23, 2013 @05:48PM (#45503731)

    The US is choosing the path of aggression instead of the path
    of civilized behavior.

    This is a strategy designed by fools. If the fools responsible were the
    only ones who would pay for their crimes that wouldn't be so bad.

    But every American will pay for what a tiny minority of American swine have done.

    By the way, before you start in with your xenophobic redneck moron responses, I AM an American,
    and I see what is coming and I do not like it one bit. When the rest of the world has had enough
    of the US overstepping its bounds, all the US military power won't make a bit of difference.
    Economic sanctions alone can and will bring the US to its knees. If you don't believe this is
    possible, you need to read more history.

    .

    • by tibit (1762298)

      In spite of everything, U.S. is still a big country with a lot of natural resources. The only reason most of those resources are not being exploited is availability of cheap resources from elsewhere. Sanctions that isolate the U.S. will merely shift the opportunity inwards. There'd be a whole lot of growth of the industry. Yeah, there'd also be the environmental problems that it brings, but oh well, at the moment we're merely exporting them.

    • by gweihir (88907)

      Economically, the US is already on its knees. The fitness of the US economy is on par with Greece. The only thing holding it up is its reputation, and that is going down the drains really fast at the moment...

    • by Plugh (27537)

      Economic sanctions alone can and will bring the US to its knees

      Sanctions? Hardly necessary. To bring the US to its knees, all that needs to happen is for the Chinese to stop buying US Treasury bonds [bloomberg.com]. Whoops....

      • by Thor Ablestar (321949) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @10:08PM (#45504885)

        As a Russian citizen I doubt. You know, the strength of US Dollar is based on the fact that it's the only currency exchangeable to petroleum, and every country that uses any other currency for this purpose becomes democratic. (Saddam sold oil for Euros, and his country became democratic, Lybia sold oil for Euros and became democratic too, Iran sold oil for gold and will surely become democratic immediately after Syria).

        And I fear that China will become democratic too.

        • by c0lo (1497653)

          As a Russian citizen I doubt. You know, the strength of US Dollar is based on the fact that it's the only currency exchangeable to petroleum,

          Fortunately, seems you are wrong [investmentwatchblog.com] on this account.

    • by argStyopa (232550)

      The funniest part of this post?

      The "anonymous" bit.

      ROFLMAO.

      -The NSA.

    • The US is choosing the path of aggression instead of the path of civilized behavior. This is a strategy designed by fools.

      It is called "game theory". It is a virus that teaches that the only way to achieve a predictable result is to cheat, steal and lie. Because everyone else does.

      There are two kinds of people in this world, those who will lean into its principles thinking that (despite its ugly face) there is some shred of real science hidden underneath because of its (apparent) success in helping to model animal behaviors. But if Lassie played by the rules of Game Theory she'd leave Timmy down in the well because it would ac

  • Reality check (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Spiked_Three (626260)
    Haha, look at all the AC posts. You guys are fricken cowards. Like posting anonymously is somehow going to prevent the government from knowing who you are.

    Look, you give an agency the task of preventing damage to your country - that is what they are going to try and do, any way they can or have to. And lets be real, laws are just a game. Everyday we see how loopholes, misinterpretations etc are used to get around anything. You think ANYONE at ANYTIME expected GE, Apple, Microsoft to pay 0 taxes? And yet
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Laws are what civilized people follow.

      • Yes and no. Civilized people disobey grossly immoral laws. I suppose that Ayn Randians consider tax laws grossly immoral. :p
        • by sumdumass (711423)

          There is no morality to it. The law says you have to pay the least you are obligated to pay and if companies or individuals can make that 0% without violating other laws, then it is the legal amount they own.

          The answer is not throwing your hands up and demanding the companies go to prison, it is in changing the laws they are using as loop holes in order to get away with it. Trust me, the IRS has very vindictive tax enforcers who have no problem throwing little old ladies into the street in order to get a fe

  • Year Zero (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Moppusan (2837753) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @05:53PM (#45503767)
    More and more the concept album "Year Zero" by Nine Inch Nails is becoming less "concept" and more "reality."
  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Saturday November 23, 2013 @06:30PM (#45503981) Homepage

    The USA pursued Gary McKinnon [wikipedia.org] for a decade for cracking some USA military and NASA computers, mainly those where incompetent sysadmins had not changed default passwords. What Gary McKinnon was wrong; but this is also wrong and worse by an order of magnitude.

    Do we assume that the USA gov't will hand over those responsible as it wanted the UK to hand over Gary McKinnon ? I would eat all of my hats if the USA gov't even talked about the possibility.

    • by gweihir (88907) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @08:45PM (#45504631)

      His guilt depends. A few years back, a Swiss court decided with regard to somebody breaking into computers at the WEF, that a default password was equivalent to no password and a software secured by a default password was the same as unsecured software and hence no breaking in had happened, but rather access to a public resource. Accordingly, the person responsible walked. I find that quite a sensible verdict.

    • I suspect that Gary did a lot more than simple snooping. And if we found somebody had spied on UK, and done more than simple snooping, then yeah, we would likely turn them over.
  • by gargleblast (683147) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @11:34PM (#45505203)
    From TFA:

    A government spokesperson states that any disclosure of classified material is harmful to our national security.

    What a useless PR hack. Two points:

    • A large amount of classified material is over-classified, not in the least bit harmful to national security, and mostly just embarrassing to the government.
    • In circumstances such as this, it is actually government activity is that harmful to national security.
    • A government spokesperson states that any disclosure of classified material is harmful to our national security.

      JFYI: Long time ago I worked with (then) top secret information in some Soviet scientific institution (Disclaimer: This info is a GPS coordinates and is not secret anymore). I have found that a fraudster pseudo-scientist successfully used the top secret status to cover his activity from scientific community and to milk the Russian military-industrial complex with his pseudoscientific activities.

      I cannot believe that similar over-secrecy with similar results cannot happen everywhere, including US.

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