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Have a Privacy-Invasion Wishlist? Peruse NSA's Top Secret Catalog 259

Posted by timothy
from the after-christmas-specials dept.
An anonymous reader writes with a link to Der Spiegel, which describes a Top-Secret spy-agency catalog which reveals that the NSA "has been secretly back dooring equipment from US companies including Dell, Cisco, Juniper, IBM, Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor and more, risking enormous damage to US tech sector." Der Spiegel also has a wider ranging article about the agency's Tailored Access Operations unit.
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Have a Privacy-Invasion Wishlist? Peruse NSA's Top Secret Catalog

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  • by Desler (1608317) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @10:44AM (#45811483)

    Huawei and Samsung are US companies? Because if you read the article these things are not limited to US companies despite the implication of the summary.

  • Misleading Summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @10:46AM (#45811491)

    If you actually go to the referenced article and read it you will see that these are exploits, not backdoors, and they apply to equipment from non-US manufacturers as well as from US manufacturers, for example Samsung and Huawei.

    Good job slashdot. NOT. A nice raspberry for Der Spiegel too.

  • by Desler (1608317) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @11:06AM (#45811609)

    No the summary had: "US companies including" and failed to mention any of the non-US companies that the article explicitly called out.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 29, 2013 @12:11PM (#45811953)

    Samsun's SSD & HDD firmware was written jointly in US & Korea, with US code patches coming from Samsung Information System America (SISA) in Silicon Valley. This ended in 2013 when Seagate bought Samsung's HDD division in 2013 and fired all the HDD engineers at SISA. Samsung's SSD firmware is still a joint effort.

  • Re:And Ultimately (Score:2, Informative)

    by cold fjord (826450) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @12:46PM (#45812127)

    You are quite wrong about that.

    NSA helped foil terror plot in Belgium, documents, officials say []

    The Belgium plot, though not confirmed to be one of the 50 that relied on the recently revealed secretive NSA program to monitor online messages, appears to fit the bill.

    On December 11, 2008, Belgian authorities arrested an al Qaeda cell in Brussels that they feared had been planning a suicide bombing attack.

    An intercepted e-mail from one of the cell members to his ex-girlfriend indicated he was about to launch a suicide attack. A defense lawyer in the case told CNN that prosecutors at trial acknowledged that the United States intercepted the communication and passed it to the Belgians.

  • Link to the source (Score:4, Informative)

    by anorlunda (311253) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @01:19PM (#45812277) Homepage

    TFA does not give a link to this so-called catalog. Does anyone here have the link?

  • Re:And Ultimately (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 29, 2013 @01:29PM (#45812333)

    Not GP here.

    While it's not new to me (thanks to my neurotic love for historical-fiction set in the day of Nelson)...

    Yeah. Most people aren't even remotely aware of how many common phrases come from our maritime past, let alone are familiar with metaphors that have widely fallen out of use.

    This is literally the first time I've seen "loose cannon on a rolling ship" in about five years. Sure, it's the full-length version of, "loose cannon" - but since the latter part has long been cut off, your average person hears, "loose cannon" and thinks, "Guy who's about to explode. Like a cannon. I dunno what the loose part is about."

  • Re:And Ultimately (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @02:41PM (#45812769)

    Since the public record indicates that the vast majority of terrorist attacks that the NSA has helped stopped are overseas, outside the US

    Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

    Let it be known that uber-con cold fjord has acknowledged that the NSA's domestic meta-data program (section 215) has stopped zero terrorist attacks inside the US and that the overseas meta-data interception program (section 702) has "helped" to stop one, perhaps two attacks in the US.

    215: We Found None []

    702: Only One, Perhaps Two []

  • by VortexCortex (1117377) <`VortexCortex' ` ...'> on Sunday December 29, 2013 @05:03PM (#45813485) Homepage

    Get a clue, its not just the US/NSA that does this. They are just the ones that are getting beat up in the press.

    Yep, it's too bad the NSA doesn't actually protect national security, and is instead just ensuring all the other state sponsored enemy spies can get at more info than a contractor like Snowed did.

    Imagine what it would be like if the government wasn't allowed any secrets or wiretaps. Our public policy would be the same policy we actually furthered around the world -- We wouldn't have to worry about diplomats making secret arms deals behind our backs; If such things were actually required to save lives then we'd understand the circumstance. The only reason we can't trust their actions is because secrets mask their motives, even when they are on the up and up.

    We have amazing spy satellites launched via the biggest rockets in the world already. [] They [] would simply have more funds to split with NASA and be more benefit to actual security, science, disasters relief, while ensuring no force can make a move against us without us knowing instantly. They could even map submarines from space with ground/water penetrating radar. Better space collaboration would ensure decommissioned tech helps the space exploration initiative. [] No spies can threaten a government without secrets.

    If the NSA were actually protecting the national security of America then they could be tasked with finding all the backdoors in the hardware and software. No one could put backdoors in for fear the NSA would find out, publish it, and ruin their business. Today they stay silent and let the public purchase systems the NSA likely knows have been compromised by enemy spies -- This saves the NSA time: They can just use the existing backdoor instead of put their own in. If the NSA weren't allowed secrets, they'd be eliminating exploits instead of leveraging them and our hardware, firmware, and OS's would be more secure. Eventually other governments would have to start up their own programs of outing intentional exploits just to ensure their people they weren't compromising public security. In addition to the Space Race, we'd have a Privacy Race, where competition would be in building the most secure systems. Public and private sector security experts could be assisted with new tools to show where flaws lie. Security would be a selling point and methods of provable security would be devised (I have done so myself on small scales). Computers and programs have finite state, so provable security is not impossible: Instead of spying the data centers and supercomputers could be tasked with hardening all the hardware and software. People would buy the USA security endorsed systems with pride. We'd have less identity fraud -- one of the most prevalent crimes. Conspiracies could be silenced through truth not ignorance. If we outlawed government secrets and required scientific evidence that their programs were helpful not harmful then we could trust our governments more than any citizens ever could before.

    Sadly, we're too primitive and politically oppressed [] to apply the simple Scientific Method to governance. None can have assured trust or security from prying eyes because we allow the government to have secrets. That the priority of secrets is valued above security by the spies is obvious and evidenced by the way they compromise security and do not inform the world that we are buying insecure products. They risk spies accessing more than Snowden ever dreamed due to the priority they place on secrecy over security in their digital spying programs. [] These secret programs aren't getting beat up nearly as bad as they should be in the p

"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even one which cannot be justified on any other grounds." -- J. Finnegan, USC.