MonsterMind: Hard to terminate.
Another day, another scary thing we learn about the NSA. In a recent interview, whistleblower Edward Snowden tells us to fuhgeddaboudit when the NSA gets its wires crossed. According to Snowden, even the best cable guy in the Universe is powerless when a nationwide Internet blackout is caused by the NSA!
In IT Blogwatch, bloggers hop in a hotwired car and head South.
Filling in for our humble blogwatcher Richi Jennings, is a humbler Stephen Glasskeys.
Grant Gross's computer is fully automated:
The U.S. National Security Agency has a cyberwarfare program that hunts for foreign cyberattacks and is able to strike back without human intervention, according to NSA leaker Edward Snowden. MORE
James Bamford has stopped worrying and loves MonsterMind:
[Edward] Snowden was...disturbed to discover [a] Strangelovian cyberwarfare program...codenamed MonsterMind.
...Instead of simply detecting and killing malware at the point of entry, MonsterMind would automatically fire back, with no human involvement. That's a problem, Snowden says, because the initial attacks are often routed through computers in innocent third countries. MORE
On August 13, Daniel Cooper began to leahhn at a geometric rate:
[We wonder], if MonsterMind is automatically launching online attacks against foreign powers, then surely it'd be violating the rule that only Congress can make a formal declaration of war. MORE
Iain Thomson reaches the tipping point:
Snowden said it was learning about systems like MonsterMind...helped persuade him that a whistleblower was needed to bring the subject to the American people. But he said the [deciding factor] was the Congressional hearings in March last year when the US director of national intelligence James Clapper denied putting US citizens under mass surveillance.
..."He saw deceiving the American people as what he does, as his job, as something completely ordinary," Snowden alleged. MORE
Spencer Ackerman is a 1337 haX0r d00d:
Snowden identified the elite NSA hacking unit, called Tailored Access Operations, accidentally cut off Syria's access to the internet in 2012.
...Instead of gaining mass visibility into the internet habits of Syrians, Snowden alleged, a glitch took Syria offline.
...Snowden [said] that NSA officials joked that if they were discovered, they would blame the outage on Israel. MORE
Nick Statt gets like, deep man:
The results of Bamford's time with Snowden...are a fascinating look into [Snowden's] deeply-held beliefs and his motivations in unearthing the secrets behind the United States' most controversial surveillance programs of our time. MORE
And Andy Greenburg becomes nostalgic:
Platon's photos of Snowden are great...But this old one w/ NSA's Michael Hayden is a real find. MORE
Meanwhile, Darlene Storm gives us something else to be paranoid about:
Most PCs have the anti-theft software Absolute Computrace embedded in their BIOS/UEFI. Although it's legitimate software, it behaves a lot like malware, leaving a "backdoor" that could allow attackers to execute remote code. In fact, at Black Hat USA, researchers used Computrace vulnerabilities to remotely wipe a brand new out-of-the-box Windows 8 x64 laptop. MORE
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