back to article NSA Sentry Eagle placed spies in private companies

The National Security Agency (NSA) has since 2004 sent spies into private companies in a bid to compromise networks from within, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Agents sent in by the NSA targeted global communications firms under a highly classified 'core secrets' program dubbed Sentry Eagle previously known …

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I don't think I want to play with the Americans any more.

They don't play fair.

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Re: I don't think I want to play with the Americans any more.

Do you really think the Americans are playing on their own?

It's a fairly level playing field because they are all doing it to a greater or lesser extent. It just that the U.S. has a bigger budget.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't think I want to play with the Americans any more.

Too late--seems they already knew that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't think I want to play with the Americans any more.

No wonder they are up in arms over the tweaked iOS 8 encryption and the proposed encryption for Android.

Or are they really? How easy would it be for them to place someone inside Apple or Google?

Already there I think.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't think I want to play with the Americans any more.

this latest information from Mr & Mrs Snowden is just confirmation; one of the previous generation of 'moralised' ex-NSA stated in 2012 (paraphrased) "when we're trying to implement a tap in a foreign telco, and we meet resistance (but we need .... warrant this, court-order that, judge the-other) we simply recruit the guy causing the block" - he didn't specify which of the multitude of recruitment techniques were mostly used!

Having this confirmation on recruitment does further remind us, that although USA is sovereign and can obviously do as they please, that this then allows, nay requires, that their state level & NGO opposition {the baddies} do the same, subverting everything & recruiting people who stand in their way.

It's widely assumed that with the extant one million strong USA security state personnel (of whom all of GCHQ is but a tiny excellent fraction) that upwards of one hundred tortured souls out of these million already actively work for {the baddies}

We know about Mr Snowden, who has gone FLOSS , and Sub-Lieutenant Jeffrey Paul Delisle but who do the other 98 subverted-US-security-state operatives work for? Camorra? NORKS? Da'esh? Wonga? NED? UKIP?

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Anonymous Coward

With so much deviant behaviour going on here it wouldn't surprise me if The Reg has already has a resident Deep Throat and has been penetrated.

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Happy

Re: I don't think I want to play with the Americans any more.

AC, wrong, again. They work for money. You know, the stuff the merkin ruling caste worship along with its consort, power.

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NSA simply "recruit the guy causing the block"

Now this would explain their thirst for collecting all information everywhere: It's simply a recruiting tool.

Now see, we are willing to pay you good money to destroy your company's product and integrity, but if you don't want our money we might also consider releasing a few images from your Friday night wanking session (you did know that you computer has a camera, didn't you?). Our profile of your wife indicates that she might be highly receptive to such data.

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Trollface

Re: I don't think I want to play with the Americans any more.

It's been that way ever since the rag-tag Colonials hid in the trees and sniped at the marching ranks of Redcoats. "Not a gentlemanly way to conduct a war" their officers complained.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't think I want to play with the Americans any more.

in order to decide who to play with, you have to be aware of the facts!

according to one of the Snowden emails to Ms Poitras

On cyber operations, the government’s public position is that we still lack a policy framework. This too is a lie. There is a detailed policy framework, a kind of marshall law for cyber operations, created by the White House. It’s called presidential policy 20 and was finalized at the end of last year. This I can also prove.

the 18 page presidential policy 20 (stuffed with relevant facts) is at http://fas.org/irp/offdocs/ppd/ppd-20.pdf

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@AC - placing someone inside Apple and Google

With the encryption keys existing only on the device itself, even if the government has plants within Apple and Google (and I agree, that's virtually a certainty given their size and influence) there isn't much they can do. If they had a copy of the keys available to provide to law enforcement, someone on the inside could have compromised that system and dumped all the data for spooks to have handy, or at least been able to provide keys on demand in situations where a court order couldn't/wouldn't be sought, so taking that away is a big deal.

Yeah, having someone on the inside providing access to the source code of stuff like iOS and Google Search, having early access to bug reports so they can exploit them before fixes are available, and so forth would certainly further the NSA's cause, but this change does negatively affect them and that's why they're raising such a fuss over it.

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When it left the aviary ....

... a sparrow snowed on them.

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The NSA worked with "specific US commercial entities to modify US manufacturer encryption systems to make them exploitable for SIGINT". And yet, strangely, they didn't see how that might blow up in their faces.

The NSA is tasked both with protecting US network infrastructure and also penetrating and gathering intelligence from networks. Those two goals seem contradictory to me. I guess we've found out which of the two had the higher priority...

If someone ten years ago had written this into the plot of a sci-fi novel, I'd have thought it was too implausible. Live and learn.

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"The NSA is tasked both with protecting US network infrastructure and also penetrating and gathering intelligence from networks."

Which doesn't really explain why (as I read this article) the NSA were active in commercial espionage on foreign owned companies. That has little to do with security or protective intelligence, and everything to do with the sort of intellectual property theft for economic gain that the Yanks have spent the past decade accusing the Chinks over.

The unfortunate thing is that Snowden or not, this would eventually have leaked out, and what it shows is the poor judgement of the security establishment, who seem determined to make the US a pariah in the free world. And all of this security pantomime is justified largely by the "threat" posed by a handful of stone age bigots and extremists on the other side of the world. And the absolute height of that threat was an attack over ten years ago that killed roughly the same number of people who die on America's roads each month, year in year out.

Makes you wonder which country the NSA are actually working for.

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I don't read IP theft for economic gain in this, just inserting back doors for NSA use. The sudden shut down of TrueCrypt springs to mind, perhaps some in the team began to have suspicions about the motives of their colleagues.

The unfortunate thing is that Snowden or not, this would eventually have leaked out,

Yup. Humans are unreliable, naive to think a secret as this big could be kept indefinitely even with careful compartmentalisation.

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Anonymous Coward

Ahh please it's pretty obvious the USA has been balls deep in industrial espionage ever since it became a nation.

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Indicative?

Ledswinger:The unfortunate thing is that Snowden or not, this would eventually have leaked out

You wonder the extent to which this is indicative of a mindset - was it as simple as Snowden, being "on the inside", wasn't really a party to the rules and could do as he wished?

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Re: Indicative?

The unfortunate thing is that Snowden or not, nearly all of this leaked out.

Fixed.

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Re: Indicative?@ Apdsmith

"You wonder the extent to which this is indicative of a mindset - was it as simple as Snowden, being "on the inside", wasn't really a party to the rules and could do as he wished?"

I hadn't thought of it like that, but it's a damned good challenge. It is generally true that any organisation is a shadow of its leader, top to bottom, and for better or worse. It would therefore follow that Snowden perhaps thought that way because that was how the whole NSA think, but I don't think so. Both from what he's said, and from his actions post-leak, he knew the ramifications would not include acclaim, recognition and reward, but rather vilification, harassment of him, family and friends, and a choice of exile or life imprisonment by a bitter, vengeful, and repressive bureaucracy.

The man has paid a very heavy personal price for doing the right thing, and I think if he'd believed that the rules did not apply to him, he'd have assumed that things would never point at him, or that it would all turn out rosy. I'd suggest the unlucky Bradley/Chelsea Manning thought that way, based on what he'd seen, but I think Snowden not.

The complete lack of support on Capitol Hill shows how the vermin of the political classes won't ever do the right thing, so I suppose that makes Snowden the man who stood up for what he believed in, of a free America. And he's now being hunted down like a dog for being the original American patriot.

Note to Hollywood: When you make the film, remember that all the baddies in this will not be your elected politicians, nor your senior security officials (many now as decorated as any African dictator), but should be weak minded dweebs either under the malign influence of the British, or simply mysterious English-accented sinistros.

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@ Franklin

If someone ten years ago had written this into the plot of a sci-fi novel, I'd have thought it was too implausible. Live and learn.

Its been on since arpa was born ,in the 80's its really go into its swing ,---...

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Re: Indicative?@ Apdsmith

Hi Ledswinger,

I hadn't actually thought about it that way, but it's an interesting point - I was speculating more as to the mindset generally - the apparent lack of security for _anyone_ in that position was what set me off on that train of thought.

Regards,

Adam

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Data gluttony

OM NOM NOM NOM.

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sentry eagol, did you say?

That rhymes with Sméagol, doesn't it? I knew it. Sauron, is back...all this Mount Doom and My Precious business was just a diversion. One Internet to rule them all...argggh...

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Black Helicopters

Not a lot of people realize...

Not a lot of people realize that El Presidente is only cleared to the red level of that graphic.

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Re: Not a lot of people realize...

you mean the spooks are not a state within all states ? Oh the indignity. Did I just hear Merkin Company high tech exports take another dive ? Meanwhile, Huwei shares closed higher and El Reg hires get the once-over for dubious past associations.

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Anonymous Coward

I believe political agitator Mark Thomas' latest set of shows is about this very thing.

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Anonymous Coward

If they ever get shown.......

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What was Snowdens Role at the NSA?

Anyone know? I'll have a little dig around later myself but thought I'd throw it out there.

I'm only curious as some of these secrets are always very 'high level only known to a few' yet he knew and now he's posting about them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What was Snowdens Role at the NSA?

I might be wrong but Snowden superficially seems to have been a bit of a BOFH at Dell/BAH/NSA

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Anonymous Coward

We the people have to take the power back... again.

Since these Snowden revelations have been published, I expect that job applicants to NSA/5-eyes from consciencous, free thinkers and genuine-patriots have nosedived, whilst applicants from all manner of psychopaths, sociopaths, satanists, control-freaks and blind order-followers have skyrocketted. I feel for anyone who made a career out of it without realising and now regrets their decision. The best thing they can do for humanity now is stick with it and destroy the belly of the beast from inside.

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Core Secrets?

So that's

The deal the US government did with the Aliens

Who really shot Kennedy

Did the ball cross the line in the 66' World cup final

Why Hollywood keeps making films with Adam Sandler

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Don't forget the best part .........

No jail time for any of those NSA thieves (except probably the thieves' thief). But this guy sure got what he had coming. Justice is Served?

I know, it's old news, but ironically apropos:

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2007/05/michigan-man-arrested-for-using-cafes-free-wifi-from-his-car/

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Buildings don't fall at gravity speed. Unless someone kicks the props out from under. The entire War on Terror is a fraud.

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WTF?

GCHQ/NSA can't listen in on ...

two people, lieing in a park or other comfortable location, facing each other with their faces cupped in their hands and whispering.

The other medium that is off their scale is infra-red, point-to-point, communications. Some astounding distances can be achieved - measured in kilometres - with a narrow reception aperture.

If course, being Britain, they could BAN WHISPERING.

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