Friday, June 14, 2013

Snowden smuggled the classified documents out of NSA on a Flash Drive

Not particularly surprising:
Whistleblower Edward Snowden apparently used a USB thumb-drive to smuggle out hundreds of top-secret documents before he blew the lid off the NSA's web-spying project PRISM. This is despite the Pentagon's clampdown on the gadgets.

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Computer usage at the National Security Agency is tightly controlled. But Snowden was a systems administrator employed by contractor Booz Allan Hamilton to maintain the spooks' network, and thus had sufficient privileges to use flash drives as part of his job.
This is the intersection of easy-to-conceal and critical-for-system-administration is a Catch-22 that won't go away.  Actually, it's worse than that, because users resist security measures that keep them from doing things they want to.  I wrote about that four and a half years ago in How to hack a classified network (currently top Google result for "hack classified network", out of 3 million results).

2 comments:

Goober said...

After the manning episode, im really surprised that he was able to do this.

Right now, we dont have a direct threat from the nsa in all this because it appears, for now at least, that they are using all this for honorableish purposes. But one wonders what an outside, less honorable source that got their hands on this stuff could do with it if whats his face decides to sell to the highest bidder. To me thats the biggest immediate security threat.

Long term, the scope of this will almost certainlycreep, and we will see this stuff being used against citizens in simple crminal and civil proceedings (unfit father because you visit porn sites or antigovernment sites, for instance) but right now, what could iran do with this data?

city said...

thanks for share........