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Interview With An 'NSA Hacker' Published By The Intercept ( 93

The Intercept published a 4,000 word article based on a journalist's three-hour interview with an "NSA hacker" who recently left the agency for a career in cybersecurity. Offering a portrait of life within the U.S. intelligence agency, "Lamb" says he worked on "ridiculously cool projects that I'll never forget... Technically challenging things are just inherently interesting to me."

He's the author of some of the memos leaked by Edward Snowden about how the NSA tries to identify Tor users or break into sys-admin accounts. ("One of his memos outlined the ways the NSA reroutes (or "shapes") the internet traffic of entire countries, and another memo was titled "I Hunt Sysadmins.") "If you tell me, 'This can't be done,' I'm going to try and find a way to do it."

It's interesting that he ended one memo with "Current mood: devious" and wrote in another that Tor "generally makes for sad analysts". But in his interview, he warns that "There is no real safe, sacred ground on the internet. Whatever you do on the internet is an attack surface of some sort and is just something that you live with."
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Interview With An 'NSA Hacker' Published By The Intercept

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  • no sacred ground (Score:5, Insightful)

    by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Sunday July 03, 2016 @07:37PM (#52440631)
    includes the NSA's lawn.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Monday July 04, 2016 @03:44AM (#52441701) Homepage Journal

      The NSA must surely be compromised. If Snowden could do it, you have to figure that professional spies from other countries have too. The NSA is a very attractive target, having virtual dossiers on all US and many European citizens that are ripe for plundering. Access to NSA backdoors and non-public vulnerabilities would be quite valuable too.

  • I was looking forward to the story but when I saw things like smiley faces and the current mood=devious junk, I'm doubting this cat was really a spook. No way would someone put that kind of gibberish in a presentation unless, of course, it was presented to his office buddies who probably got a kick out of it. No way a 4-star would be looking at some hand-scribbled, 2nd grade inspired drawing.
    • Legit-ish. "Lamb" was in one of the terrariums full of haxxors that the spooks keep for research and observation. Obviously, he wasn't even valuable enough for them to aggressively hold on to.

      • The Federal Government is generally terrible on several levels when it comes to job retention. The biggest thing they have to offer is that it's one of the few places that actually offers a pension, and that's increasingly going away. In anything requiring tech skills, they're not remotely competitive on salary or benefits.

        The biggest thing that a place like the NSA can offer is "this work is really really cool, even if you can't tell anyone about it." But at some point, that just doesn't measure up to ot
  • by Anonymous Coward

    NSA buys their exploits on the black market [] just like all the other criminal skiddies do.

    They even point and click to deploy their attacks, like skiddies using babby's first pre-packaged metasploit-ready exploit vector.

    "Devious" is buying exploits from real black hat hackers? Pretty much, yeah.

    With everything having such shit security there's not much incentive to spend a lot of money on "really neat projects" aside from running a fuzzer on new software, or fingerprinting a sysadmin's systems then deployin

  • Worthless article (Score:5, Informative)

    by pellik ( 193063 ) on Sunday July 03, 2016 @09:07PM (#52440871)
    The only story is that the journalist did a three hour interview with a NSA hacker. There's no content in there.
  • "If you tell me, 'This can't be done,' I'm going to try and find a way to do it."

    How to be rich in 10 seconds:
    1) say, "I can't have your bank account. This can't be done."
    2)He's 'going to try and find a way to do it'

  • by Velox_SwiftFox ( 57902 ) on Sunday July 03, 2016 @11:08PM (#52441225)
    Oh for the old days when no one wondered why >50% of European Internet connections were routed through MAE East.
  • he's turning in his back hat for a white one?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It means he sold his soul and now he repents. But in reality it's like Satan posing as a humanitarian worker.

      His curiosity toward IT was exploited by a rogue agency, no doubt. I just hope he realizes all the damage he's done to the basic and human rights, let alone diluting the values outlined in the US Constitution. There's no amount of "cyber security" he could ever do to make up for that and there's no amount of righteousness he can hide behind to justify his actions. What he did was pure evil.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.