It was recently reported that NSA has specific units of elite hackers, tasked with hacking into all kinds of hardware and networks. Further details on the subject reveal that these NSA hackers can hijack a Wi-Fi network, even while they are miles away.
This is fairly astonishing because generally, one needs to be within the range of a Wi-Fi network to hack into it. Jacob Applebaum is the co-author of the recent report in Der Spiegel which blew the lid off NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group and uncovered the extensive catalogue of hardware and software exploits used by the agency. These include numerous backdoors for iPhone handsets.
According to Applebaum, NSA uses devices which can infect computers through packet injection and hack the network. To accomplish this, the agency’s hackers are able to seed the exploits from as far away as eight miles. These findings are from a brochure dated 2007.
In other words, the agency must have significantly ramped up and improved these tools and methods since then. The revelations remind us, yet again, that everything from cellular networks to private Wi-Fi networks and cabled connections are vulnerable to NSA’s surveillane, with the U.S. government fully supporting any and all actions by the spy agency.
Thankfully, the hardware vendors have taken heed of the whole fiasco and decided to investigate the possible backdoors in their equipment. Cisco, for instance, has issued a statement which reads, “On Monday, December 30th, Der Spiegel magazine published additional information about the techniques allegedly used by NSA TAO to infiltrate the technologies of numerous IT companies. As a result of this new information coming to light, the Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) has opened an investigation.”
Der Spiegel has also published an excellent interactive graphic which shows the tools which NSA routinely deploys to tap into our communications, and the exact points over a network where these tools are potentially deployed. You can view the graphic here.
Courtesy: The Verge