NSA Reportedly Hijacks PCs to Install Spyware, Has Backdoor Access to iPhones

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wrcousert

We need to disband the NSA. They have too much power.

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

Our local school district doesn't have enough funding for school buses and plans to suspend the service next year.

Yet we have all the money in the world to kill brown-skinned people in foreign lands, whenever GE, Lockheed, Boeing, or other war mongers want a bump in the bottom line.

I hate this fucking country, governed by thieves and murderers.

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Ninjawithagun

What, don't like America? No problem. Buy yourself a one way trip to Moscow. Turn in your passport to the immigration officer and tell him to shred it. Have fun playing with Snowden in the permafrost wonderland. You think America has anything on Russia in terms of spying? You might want to think again. Not only is Russia worse, you don't have human rights on top of it all. In America, morons like you still have rights. Scary and sad, but true. And funny how you complain about it all, while using a United States FCC approved internet connection provided by a US owned ISP. Really? You might want to think before you do something this stupid again.

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PCWolf

We also have Billions for Foreign Aid! Besides, Kids are getting too fat & lazy, sitting down all day playing with their PS Boxes & X Station game machine thingies. They need to exercise more. Walking to school would be good for them. When I was a Kid, buses were not even invented yet. We had to walk to school wearing burlap sacks for clothes & we had to walk miles & miles uphill in the snow, both ways to get to school.

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The Mac

uphill backwards in the snow FTW!

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tristone

Hi,

I am a Chinese and I find it very interesting my home country is mentioned pretty often in these occasions. More interestingly, back in China, when someone is criticizing the government you can also hear similar voices saying 'some other countries are doing even worse'. And it's said in North Korea the most famous song is called 'Everybody Envies us'(it's the lower case us, make no mistake). When the people there are actually starving their government tells them in the US(upper case this time) lots have already died of famine.

No offense, I guess it's just part of human nature to find comfort in some worse places when one is not in a good situation. But does that make the wrong right? I am afraid not. What's worse is such thinking pattern often takes away logic and reasoning. And that's scary.

Is the NSA story too incredible to happen in the real world? Well do you believe a magic bullet could penetrate JFK 7 times or the WTC towers could collapse at freefall speed just because of some jet fuel? If you do you probably should not be surprised by NSA at all.

Among the things we learned from the US there are a few I think quite valuable and remember well.

#1 All men are created equal, which infers no one is less vulnerable than others to dictatorship or tyranny.
#2 Never trust the government, and I mean *any* government.
#3 Be very careful when you are asked to pick a side. Especially when it begins like, 'You are either with us, or against us'. For that almost always means you are losing something while you don't know.

I surely hope these are not lost in the land of free for I am now living in a free country and close ally of the US.

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alex.beschler

I completely agree. Although we can never really prove that the government is actually trying to help (but went about it the wrong way and made the problem worse), I totally agree with you.

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The Mac

Had to post once more to push this into the top five

lol

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MaximumMike

Very nice move. Now the ignorance of your position can be on display to more people.

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Richardbs

you must be fun at parties

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maverick knight

So the Washington Post cited a foreign magazine. That's low just to get people's attention. The sources are not even named. And most comments here believe this garbage just to justify their "Ahaa!! I KNEW IT!!" ego. If you want to be paranoid go be Amish or something. Or better yet, go to China and try to play BF4. See how that goes. NSA FTW

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Ninjawithagun

The days of true news reporting is gone for good. Now, it's like the 7pm Tabloid update instead of the news. I still miss Peter Jenkins and Walter Kronkite reporting on real news WITHOUT speculation. Nowadays, every single reporter spins up a report and adds some 'unconfirmed' facts just to make it look more appealing versus the truth. And it's only getting worse...

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fung0

Maverick, your response is typical of a certain "Ahaa!! I KNEW IT!!" mentality, eager to avoid confronting the uncomfortable truth.

The reference should have been made clearer in the MaxPC item, but is easily followed up via the WaPo link. The "foreign magazine" being cited is not some subversive rag, but Der Spiegel, a highly reputable publication that has been doing frequent reports based directly on Edward Snowden's leaked documents. Therefore, there's very little doubt that they say about the NSA is true.

Also, just so you're clear: the point isn't that things are better in totalitarian China. It's that they're at least as bad in the supposedly democratic Land of the Free. No need to go to China, when the NSA is happily spying on everyone in the world.

Finally, a question of basic definitions: it's not actually "paranoia" when thousands of highly-trained and well-equipped people really are after you.

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The Mac

we just got caught red handed bugging the germans recently, so im sure that they have a bone to pick.

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vrmlbasic

Bullwinkle,

How is anyone-or, more precisely, me-supposed to use modern hardware with a "safe" OS when the last safe OS is an early version of Windows XP? I've got 8 cores, 2 DX11 GPUs, 16 GB of RAM and a SSD. While no copy of Windows knows how to use AMD's 8 cores, XP doesn't know how to use any of those things. :(

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Any O.S. should be considered unsafe as soon as you connect to the Internet, especially when used with modern hardware that can be controlled directly by NSA systems

You cannot just pick up a safe O.S. at this point even if it is older when using it on newer hardware

The only advantage you can get with XP is that you can wipe ALL histories, swap files and free space before a permanent record is even created and then lock it down with driveshield to eliminate any problems as they occur

XP lets you see how spyware is getting in to give you an opportunity to try to block it where 7 and 8 hide that info from you

You can connect in Read Only Mode with a Live Linux CD or USB Drive by using unetbootin as well, but everything you do on the net is tracked now even if your system itself is read only

XP is just a tool to see how much of current spyware works in Windows as it disables my AV, firewall etc

I have had over 10 instances of CryptoLocker in less than a single week last month when I was looking for it on purpose, yet a simple reboot was all it too to eliminate the threat on a locked down XP system

You could do the same with Windows 7 or 8 if Microsoft let you lock it down tight but Microsoft won't let you for some silly reason

I believe the reason is security but not "Your" security!

The other main problem with 7 and 8 is what Windows hides from the end user

Do ANY of the aftermarket firewalls notify you for every single Windows 7 and 8 component that tries sending or receiving data from the Internet including Microsoft activation?

Do you have a firewall that can do the same for hardware from within your modern UEFI BIOS?

It's not just a software/O.S. problem
Every piece of hardware has it's own set of vulnerabilities

Some call them "features"

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MaximumMike

What about Linux? Are there any distributions you know of that are compromised or more secure than others?

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Bullwinkle J Moose

It depends on the user

knowing is only half the battle

Treat them all as compromised regardless

And don't trust anyone!
If you don't provide your own security, you have none

so, don't ask

If you don't trust yourself, who can you trust?
------------------------------------------------------------
I do not personally know of any Linux distributions that have been compromised or are safer than others

"I assume that they are all compromised"

And once you connect, even a secure O.S., through no fault of it's own can be compromised through ISP records, FBI taps, NSA tools, website logins and the false assumption that complete strangers in Corporate Offices somewhere are protecting your data...

Or it could just be those evil hackers/spies with a hidden camera in the ceiling grabbing your keystrokes...

or hidden hardware keylogger...
or....

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whiznot

Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I'll be watching you.

Every single day
Every word you say
Every game you play
Every night you stay
I'll be watching you.

Oh can't you see
You belong to me?

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Go to YouTube and punch this in the search box>

watch?v=P8SpX_gmpVI

It's "The NSA - In Concert"

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Ghost XFX

They're also using the most elite group of hackers known to get to what you have.

So what time's the riot?

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erriwin

The Mac:
"Your OPINION is that the federal government has violated the consitution.

My OPINION is they have not.

Whose opinion is fact?

neither i would venture to say until it can be PROVEN."

Just so you know: facts are true whether your opinion chooses to believe them or not, or whether it's proven or not. If there are two (or more) opinions about a FACT, that never negates the FACT; it just means one of those opinions is not true.

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fung0

What's at issue aren't the facts - we know beyond any reasonable doubt that the NSA is spying on practically everyone. They've actually admitted to most of what's been alleged so far.

As far as constitutionality, that's a matter not of FACT but of INTERPRETATION. Fortunately, the authors of the US Constitution couldn't have been more explicit: investigating people against whom there's not the slightest suspicion of wrongdoing amounts to "unreasonable" invasion of privacy. At least one court so far has agreed.

But never mind the law... even basic practicality speaks against the NSA's tactics. So far, the NSA and its supporters have come up with not one concrete example to justify mass data collection. Therefore, even the Libertarian Far Right has to agree it's a stupid way to spend tax money. Only the most committed fascist could still see it as a worthwhile government activity.

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B.A.Frayd

You seem to equate Libertarianism to Fascism here.

Fascism is a political philosophy where authoritarian principles lead to a totalitarian state where NSA spying would fit right in.

Libertarians are for the most limited government intrusion possible, and by definition, would be the political philosophy most opposed to a government spying on it's own citizens.

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MaximumMike

>>Therefore, even the Libertarian Far Right has to agree it's a stupid way to spend tax money.

I've agreed with practically everything you've been saying. But what leads you to believe that Libertarians would be in support domestic government spying under even favorable financial circumstances? I fancy myself Libertarian (though not 100%) and have never read or heard anything to that effect.

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MaximumMike

>>Only the most committed fascist could still see it as a worthwhile government activity.

May I introduce you to TheMac?

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AFDozerman

Kind of off subject, but has there been any word of virtual machine breaches/compromises such as the JVM/.NET VMs capturing and sending data back to the NSA?

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The Mac

not yet, but im sure its only a matter of time. .net in particular.

Im sure Bulwinkle has some insight (that was serious btw, i wasnt being sarcastic...as much of a nutjob i think you are, you have some valid insight)

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Wow thanks Mac

Yeah I do
Did you ever wonder why Microsoft would give you a free VM of XP when you could just simply use a torrented download copy that does not have SP3 spyware or activation spyware from Microsoft?

WELL, I did!

If it does NOT contain spyware, then why do we need to use the Microsoft authorized version.......... hmmm?

Microsoft, would you care to give us a believable response for the record here?

and don't say it's because the "alledgedly" illegal download might contain malware when most of us now know it's the "alledgedly" Legal copies that contain the malware and spyware + NSA backdoors

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sundropdrinker3

Basically, the Federal government does whatever they want, whenever they want, Constitution be damned. Also, the Supreme Court has been a political entity for many decades now, so any decision they make is probably the wrong one. The Federal government has slowly stripped power away from the states for 200+ years now. The Constitution says that the Federal government cannot force us to buy things, yet the Supreme Court said that we are forced to buy health insurance under Obamacare because..... of the way something is worded? Seriously? They do whatever they want, whenever they want, even after they have been caught.

Yes, the NSA is stomping on the 4th Amendment right, and has been for who knows how long. As have many other government agencies, and it will just get worse because of how much the current administration is growing the federal part. What was it, 800,000 net jobs in the month of November, but 40% of that was federal employees? Ridiculous. I can keep going on and on.

Basically, even if the Supreme Court rules something Constitutional, it doesn't mean that it really is. Bleh to all this shit.

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AFDozerman

Meh, I read the original article; everything down to the sources stinks. They don't even mention the names of the people they are quoting with the exception of one historian who can't tell them more than Wikipedia could. The rest are "well, this one guy said this..."

They also misquoted where a major NSA hub is supposedly at, a base that I was stationed at for awhile.

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sundropdrinker3

Just because you were stationed a t a base doesn't mean you know everything that was there. I had a clearance that enabled me to go almost everywhere on my base years ago, but I still couldn't go everywhere, and there are intelligence places on most bases.

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AFDozerman

Of course, especially not some joe like me, but the article implied that the information was public knowledge, Wikipedia-level stuff.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Any of you who have read my crazy drug induced, tinfoil hat conspiracy theories might want an update at this point...

Windows 7 and 8 were written from the ground up as spyware platforms and no security software in the World can protect you
but.....

Even XP with Driveshield installed has now been compromised in realtime and boots with the wi-fi adapter connecting to the Internet before the firewall loads
Malware can now infect a computer on each and every boot even though the boot drive is protected and does not contain malware

This is a targeted attack that occurs during the boot process and can be seen (AND HEARD) if you find your wi-fi adapter loading before the firewall

If your computer has been targeted and you find the wi-fi connecting first, do the following....

Create a grounding problem by connecting 2 computers together with only a Y splitter connected to the audio output of both computers
This will let you "hear" exactly "when" the computer is infected by amplifying the system noise due to the ground problem
(This ground problem amplifying system sounds works on my computers but may not work on all systems)

On an XP-SP2 system without any MS backdoor updates, you will hear the system being compromised "IF" you let ANY Microsoft components access the Internet in your firewall such as Explorer
(This will not be found, seen or heard if you are NOT targeted however) This procedure is only for "Targeted" systems

Targeted systems have malware attempt a compromise on each and every boot as soon as you connect to the Internet

If you block ALL software and MS components from accessing the Internet from the very 1st Install and then lock down your system with Driveshield before you connect to the Net with only Firefox, you will see that the wi-fi adapter does not connect before the firewall (As it should)

BUT, if you are targeted, and let a Microsoft component access the Internet EVEN ONCE before Driveshield Locks Down your Computer, you will be forever compromised on each and every boot from that point on

You will not even know about or be able to stop this type of attack on Windows 7 or 8 because they were designed as spyware platforms from the ground up

Once your GUID, components, software and IP address are known to the NSA, you can easily be targeted and hit on each and every boot

I am a Target!
Who the Hell are YOU?

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Error
9th line down (above)

Obviously the boot drive "Does" contain malware once you let a Microsoft component access the net with Driveshield disabled

What the hell was I thinking?

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legionera

I wonder how and where you learn all these stuff.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

It started around DOS 5 when PKZip switched from open source encryption to closed source

If you could verify that your encryption was secure as long as you used over 12 characters in the key, then the question became why switch to closed source unless you are hiding something?

Wouldn't you want your customers to have peace of mind "knowing for a fact" that your encryption was secure?

The answers never came

In fact, the mystery only deepened when everyone else started doing the same without ever explaining why

Now, there are only questions and no answers

You have to teach yourself when their are no teachers

That way, you are not held back by the same non-disclosure agreements that they are held to, and since it is my own research, you cannot make me shut the hell up for reasons of National Security when (in many cases) you use "MY" research "without compensation to me" in order to violate "MY" National and Personal Security

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Just call me The "Low Tech Warrior"

I defeat Multi-Billion Dollar Spy Agencies with paper Clips and pocket change on a daily basis

McGuyver ain't got shit on me!

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Bullwinkle J Moose

A lot of speculation and disinformation about this article can be corrected by watching this Youtube video

30c3: To Protect And Infect, Part 2

The link to this video triggered a spam alert so is not included here

It is a 1 hour video but do yourselves a favor and make the time to watch it

It is linked to from an article at "The Register" called >

How the NSA hacks PCs, phones, routers, hard disks 'at speed of light': Spy tech catalog leaks
It's not as bad as you thought - it's much worse

Go there for a better understanding of what this Maximum PC article barely touches

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fung0

Nice link, Bullwinkle -- thanks! I've been meaning to catch up with the 30c3 conference stuff. Most of it seems to be available in this channel: albertveli.

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The Mac

i have no doubts that it is, thanks for the link, ill check it out at home.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

The video explains how each of the NSA tools operate, including the video cable for monitors which is a "passive" device that cannot be detected because it operates only when hit from an outside microwave signal

At least I think it was "microwave"

I should watch the video again myself

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NavarWynn

An unshielded VGA cable 'broadcasts' everything going to your monitor. I can detect it clearly enough from across the street to watch everything my neighbor is watching on his monitor in real time. This is old news though, and the tech to do it is 20+ years old.

Frankly the NSA goofed big time - even though we all know they do and did this kind of stuff regularly, it has survived by staying OUT of the lime light. If this kind of revelation happens on a regular basis, they are going to have a harder and harder time avoiding restrictive legislation. If americans actually cared about their privacy, it would have been stopped already.

The best defense against electronis eavesdropping is to not communicate in range of or with electronic equipment... ie. in a cave in afghanistan. ... oh, and to not own an iOS device ;)

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CHR15x94

I never thought about the cable eavesdropping like that until I read your comment. Seems so simple now lol. Your device is just accelerating current through the cable (aka the display data), so it will also be broadcasted out as a magnetic field (when you accelerate current through a wire, it sends out a magnetic field "carrying" said information). Just need a receiver nearby resonating at the appropriate frequency and bam, you can watch what everyone in your household does.

(I'm sure this is obvious to all the electrical engineers out there, just felt like posting this for everyone else :P )

Also, if anyone could enlighten me, what would the range be on something like this? I imagine you could estimate it since the frequencies and electrical aspects of VGA/DVI/etc are all part of their respective standards. And would a router be able to pick these up? I know they (the router's wireless bands/whatever they'd be called) operate at much higher frequencies, but wouldn't 2.4 and/or 5GHz be a harmonic of most or all VGA and DVI operating frequencies, so it could still be picked up by a router?

Sorry for the random info/question dump, and for the terminology mistakes I'm sure I've made (didn't pay much attention to my high school physics waves/optics and electricity/magnetism classes lol)

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MaximumMike

double post

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The Mac

double post

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MaximumMike

double post

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devin3627

the only thing to save you is incompatibility, but if they are really interested in you, they'll find a way.

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mbreslin

The obvious solution to the interception of computers to add spy hardware and software, during this time of warrant-less unconstitutional searches, is to build your own. Build it yourself and all you have to worry about is keeping out intruders.

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EKRboi

Having never purchased a prebuilt desktop before that was my first thought as well, but then I kept thinking. How much is this happening? Order a new mobo, hard drive, ssd, usb drive, or flash card from newegg, amazon, etc and it can be intercepted. Hell, those parts were shipped to a newegg or amazon warehouse from somewhere. They could have been intercepted in that shipment. Same goes for buying in a local store, they were shipped somehow. So I thought the only way to be sure was to get your parts at the end of the factory line... but this is the NSA/US gubment we are talking about, they could have paid off workers in the asian plants to do it for them.

So is anything that has some form of AC/DC current flowing though it technically 100% safe in this day and age.. i fear not.