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back to article NSA's TURBINE robot can pump 'malware into MILLIONS of PCs'

The latest batch of top-secret intelligence documents from the hoard collected by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden detail the massive increase in the agency's use of its Tailored Access Operations (TAO) hacking unit – including a system dubbed TURBINE that can spam out millions of pieces of sophisticated malware at a time. The …

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"signals intelligence shall be collected exclusively where there is a foreign intelligence or counterintelligence purpose to support national and departmental missions..."

...and it's convenient, though not necessary, when the department's missions align with the nation's.

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Anonymous Coward

Amazingly the Dutch NSA have just admitted "overcollecting"

http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2014/03/dutch_security_services_do_bre.php

"Dutch security services do break law on intercepting phone traffic"

it seems the NL intel Agencies oversight panel have found disproportionate overcollecting issues, viz: "security services regulator CTIVD said security service agents do sometimes set taps without permission from the minister as required by law. They also hack into accounts without asking for permission."

So, happily, there is at least a debate in NL over the level of overcollecting, although the 89 page regulator report doesn't yet clarify how to deal with the NL Agencies overcollecting on Website Forums (like presumably here) and overcollecting other Social Media.

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Mushroom

I invite the US and the other 5 eyes partners...

to kiss my ass!

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Big Brother

Re: I invite the US and the other 5 eyes partners...

F-Secure's malware research chief Mikko Hyppönen told the summit that so far government-developed malware was coming from Germany, Russia, China, and even Sweden...

It's not just the 5 Eyes you have to worry about...

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eap

Re: I invite the US and the other 5 eyes partners...

I wonder why he listed Germany first. All I know about is that federal trojan buisiness from a few years ago (2011). The German federal police apparently wanted to listen in to skype calls and since they couldn't just NSL Microsoft, they decided to circumvent encryption by installing trojans on suspects' computers. Ill advised for many reasons, but almost cute from a post-Snowden perspective.

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Re: I invite the US and the other 5 eyes partners...

As a resident of one of the 5 eyes countries, I don't like this shit happening any more than anyone else does, but there's nothing I can do about it. Whichever bunch of jackasses I vote in, they'll all happily keep doing this stuff.

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Boffin

Re: I invite the US and the other 5 eyes partners...

Get just a little more out of line with that attitude, and they'll (we'll) rendition your sorry ass. But not until they (we) pwn your computer/mobile/xpad/device, of course.

Feel better now?

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Pirate

Re: I invite the US and the other 5 eyes partners...

You could do what I'm doing... starting a religion. My religion consists of the 4-B's... Babes, Beaches, Beer, and BBQ. The method to this madness is that when I get rendered to Gitmo and they have to "provide for my religion".. ahem... the 4-B's. I figure the Marine guard detachment will all be converts in 30 days.

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Pint

Re: I invite the US and the other 5 eyes partners...

> provide for my religion

But will you really have time to decompress between "not-torture" "interrogations" to enjoy your pyrrhic victory?

El Reg needs a 4-B's icon >>>>

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Re: I invite the US and the other 5 eyes partners...

Well the German case is very well documented. Newspapers even printed commented disassemblies of it. (No I'm not kidding here's the PDF https://www.faz.net/dynamic/download/fas/FAS_09_10_2011_S41_S47_Staatstrojaner.pdf )

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Re: Babes, Beaches, Beer, and BBQ

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I invite the US and the other 5 eyes partners...

they'll all happily keep doing this stuff whichever lot you vote for or even don't vote for at all. Remember, resistance is futile.

Shit, I can't even set fire to myself in protest, because they'll think I was a nutter or something....

;)

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Re: I invite the US and the other 5 eyes partners...

Having sex in a prison cell with a misanthrope in an orange polyester jumpsuit - those 'babes' will be queueing around the block!

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Stop

Re: I invite the US and the other 5 eyes partners...

On which ground? Ass to ugly? Anyway, when people get affraid to speak their minds, that means there's no guts anymore. But hey, if you like modern versions of STASI, then you must be very happy.

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Re: I invite the US and the other 5 eyes partners...

Of course not, but Russian and China don't turn to media crying wolf that the Chinese were lunching attacks into to the "free world" like the US Gov like to do.

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Re: I invite the US and the other 5 eyes partners...

"My religion consists of the 4-B's... Babes, Beaches, Beer, and BBQ"

Your interrogation regime* will therefore consist of Ann Widdecombe in a micro-bikini, serving you warm Kaliber lager and cold Linda MacCartney sausages on a replica of Blackpool seafront in November.

* Illegally renditioned UK citizens only. Feel free to substitute other methods where culturally appropriate.

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Re: I invite the US and the other 5 eyes partners...

You are not real, you are a SPY and I'm surprised no-one here has yet vetted you out! Everyone knows there are *5* Bs.... Babes, Beaches, Brandy (or Beer), BBQ and BACON! Shameful really....

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Re: I invite the US and the other 5 eyes partners...

My apologies forgetting BACON. I realize it is its own food group when done properly, like beer. Here in the States we don't have proper bacon just a facsimile. If a given rasher is 1 inch (2.54 cm or 25.4 mm) wide, most of it is fat with little lean. Which makes it suitable only for rendering grease for frying eggs or breakfast potatoes. Or.. if you're of the ilk, coating your bullets with the grease to ensure any terrorists you shoot won't get to heaven.

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Re: I invite the US and the other 5 eyes partners...

Nah, 6 - Babes (blokes), Beaches, Booze, Beer, Bacon and Blunts - can't do without my MJ! I

Actually, scratch that, just gimme a beach, a BBQ, Bacon and the Blunts. Oh wait a BoomBox too, this party needs tunes, right…?!

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Re: I invite the US and the other 5 eyes partners...

Nah, 6 - Babes (blokes), Beaches, Booze, Beer, Bacon and a Bong (or several) - can't do without my MJ! I

Actually, scratch that, just gimme a beach, a BBQ, Bacon and the Bong(s). Oh wait a BoomBox too, this party needs tunes, right…?!

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Re: I invite the US and the other 5 eyes partners...

Bongs or Blunts??? Why can't we have both, Coleman? (Apologies to Eddie Murphy)

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Unhappy

Yay, Malware even simpler than skiddies

Hope this is making all you Americans feel safer.

Because it's done in your name.

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Re: Yay, Malware even simpler than skiddies

Ha! That was done in decades ago.

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Big Brother

Do YOU have UNITEDRAKE FOGGYBOTTOM SALVAGERABBIT clearance?

"The madness is spreading"

Clearly, Chtulhu is up and about and looking people in the eye. I think this ain't gonna end well.

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Re: Do YOU have UNITEDRAKE FOGGYBOTTOM SALVAGERABBIT clearance?

Just wait until the Gruadiaid publishes the leaks about CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN...

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Re: Do YOU have UNITEDRAKE FOGGYBOTTOM SALVAGERABBIT clearance?

I want to know who developed the feared ADJECTIVENOUN random-name generator.

(And, as always, must wonder what the intelligence community's BLOCKCAPITALS fetish is compensating for.)

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Black Helicopters

Land of the free...

I was never here. I didn't read this. I am not a sysadmin. I don't control any routers. I have no influence over security.

Thank $Diety that I don't use Faceboo...just a second while I answer the door...

HEY, WAIT! I HAVE MY COPY OF THE CONSTITUTION RIGHT HERE AND MMPH MMMM MMMMPH MMMMPH MMMMMM!

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Devil

Re: Land of the free...

As our esteemed Senator Diane Feinstein and her staff have discovered recently with the CIA, the Constitution of the United States has been reprinted on a roll of toilet paper and left to soak in the CIA/NSA/FBI/DHS toilet overnight to discourage unauthorized access.

But that's alright. They'll be eager to interpret it for you at your trial.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Land of the free...

The Constitution of the United States is now a theological document - obsolete in language, used in vastlhy changed circumstances, and interpreted by whoever happens to be in power or has the best lobbyists.

The only real answer would be a complete rewrite, but where would you find the people to do it? The original was written by people with many axes to grind, but fortunately most of the axes were relatively harmless. It is hard to imagine the authors of a rewrite today being motivated by anything other than money, malice and special interests.

Mega biblion, says the Greek proverb, mega kakon. A great book is a great evil.

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Re: Land of the free...

I suspect that the United States Constitution may have been secretly amended to permit this snooping - of course, we the people would not have the security clearance or the need to know about this amendment.

So that's alright then.

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Unhappy

"Art Coviello calling for an international moratorium on attack code before the situation gets out of control"

Sorry to break it to you Mr. Coviello but it's already out of control.

What we need are not calls for the stable door to be bolted, but for you and others in a similar position to get off your backsides and start working out ways to beat these bastards or at the least make it so expensive that they become a little more discriminating on who they are digitally assaulting.

From your comment it would appear that you have not been keeping up with the news lately.

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"or at the least make it so expensive that they become a little more discriminating on who they are digitally assaulting."

That doesn't work. They aren't the ones footing the bill, tax payers are. Not only that, but the tax payer's not allowed to ask what it's being spent on, so (s)he as no say in the matter.

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WAY out of control and has been for years.

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They aren't the ones footing the bill, tax payers are

Naive. Taxpayers aren't "footing the bill" either. The national governments pay for their pet projects by expanding the money supply, pure and simple.

And it's likely that a very small portion of the intelligence budgets of the major industrialized nations leaves their respective countries, while a fair bit of money likely enters due to intelligence trade with assorted despots and other foreign parties. So on balance the economic activity due to the intelligence-industrial complex, in the US or similar states, is likely to benefit the populace, in a strictly monetary sense.

But the upshot is that, yes, monetary cost is not the way to create incentives against the intelligence industry. Unfortunately, nothing else looks like a particularly viable candidate either. It's likely to be around until the next civilization-destroying catastrophe. (When the next supervolcano goes boom or a decent-sized rock hits the planet, the NSA will be well-down on the list of things to worry about. Obnoxious as they are, and as much as I'd like to see civil rights restored, there's something to be said for having these sorts of problems.)

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Interesting choice of words

All these fancy names. Do they have a buzzword generator or something? Look if they want it "secret" something like "project 42" (kinda like "area 51") would be better.

Of course, the names might ALL refer to the same project, you never know.

As for financing the operation, maybe they used cryptolocker? Great slush fund generator (unfortunately at our expense!)

Scott McNealy was right!

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Re: Interesting choice of words

I asked a similar question of a mate I know who's a police detective. Apparently sometimes they just drop a dictionary a few times and pick some words more-or-less at random.

He might have been taking the piss but the results would hardly be much different.

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Big Brother

Re: Interesting choice of words

I kept waiting to see SMERSH, SPECTRE and IPCRESS.

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Re: Interesting choice of words

Ours do. The USA does it more along the lines of "let's think of a cool name".

Operation Redeeming Freedom, anyone?

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QuantumCopper, QuantumSky, QuantumHand . . .

Is there any chance that there's a Dr Who fan choosing the code names ?

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Re: Interesting choice of words

They've been running "Operation Reaming Freedom" for the last decade...

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Re: Interesting choice of words

Back in the 1700's, English ships were named for mythological characters. This was done by the First Lord who had book of mythology. He'd randomly open a page and point. The name nearest his finger became the name of the new ship. Military operations since WWII are usually just random words tossed together. I'm pretty sure this practice is still ongoing only computer generated?

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eap

"I hunt sys admins."

That's it. They've openly declared war. Simon, I'm afraid it's time to release the PFY. Knock him out, get him into his orange jump suit and dump him along with a pry bar in an airduckt in Fort Meade. By the time he's figured out that he's not at LHC the "issue" should be solved.

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Boffin

FOXACID?

Seems to me that someone in that NSA team has been playing too much Metal Gear Solid.

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Sigh

"If government cyberattacks are normalized then the effects on the general public could be catastrophic, he noted, but there's no sign of a change of policy from the NSA."

Dear <every world government>,

Your job - your only job - is to provide a better quality of life for your citizens. Before you do a single thing, make sure it passes that test.

You might want to actually ask those citizens from time-to-time too, just to make sure you're on the right track. Say, whether blanket, warrantless surveillance and widespread cyber attacks make them feel safe, uneasy or outright violated.

Sincerely,

The people (you might have seen us around.)

p.s. - Before you start congratulating yourselves on how well you're protecting your 'national interests' by spying and fighting and generally antogonising each other, ask yourselves if the people enjoyed the dick-measuring contest that was the Cold War, or if a folded flag in exchange for a son is fair trade.

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Re: Sigh

Ah naivete. How.... quaint.

Governments' ONLY job from day one is to protect the rich and powerful from other rich and powerful. Everything else is showbiz.

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Re: Sigh

Correction - Governments' ONLY job from day one is to protect the rich and powerful from the people who are not rich or powerful.

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Re: Sigh

Sigh,,, I'm ready to die...

The internet was never safe i guess.

They lied to me about santa,,the easter bunny,, jesus,,,god,,,love,, now the internet,,& who knows what else...

I strongly suspected something was up when the United Nations asked the USA to give up control of the internet & USA told them to FU*K off... sigh..

Think I will get rid of all my computers & my "tell lie phones" or "tell spy phones" &

I will now drink some cool aid & die on the NSA or GCHQ door steps,,,, hope they still got great flavors.. This tinfoil hat is killing me..

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Re: Sigh

Dear <every world citizen>,

Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah

Respectfully yours

<government>

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Re: Sigh

@what's a handle

Sadly.

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Dear Uncle Sam,

"How far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without?"

-- Ike

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