NSA leak shows how agency hijacks botnets, malware and other spies to do their dirty work

There’s only so many times we can say “new revelations about the NSA show that things are bad”, and yet, with the release of a new report, we’re forced to say it one more time.

The latest trove of documents and information, originally leaked by Edward Snowden and now made public by Der Spiegel, show how the NSA employed its spying programs to snoop on allies, while also hijacking their own spying programs at the same time.

These types of operations were at the heart of the US’s capability to access North Korean networks, which is part of the reason why authorities kept pointing towards North Korea as the culprit in the recent Sony hack.

Using a DNS injection attack the NSA was able to get control over the 'BOXINGRUMBLE' botnet

Interestingly enough, the report also details how the NSA was able to hijack other pieces of malicious software, and botnets found on the internet. Upon taking control of these, the NSA would then use them to grab more data on different targets, to spread their own malware, and to analyze a vulnerability and so on.

At one point an NSA employee describes in one of the documents how the agency infiltrated South Korea’s spying program, and through it got access to North Korean networks, they then found that North Korea had been spying on a different target – essentially allowing the NSA to use two other country’s spy systems as their own.

The employee also described how the NSA discovered a zero-day vulnerability when a different party started using it. The US agency quickly isolated the exploit and repurposed it for their own use. “Big win” - the employee concluded.

If paranoia and depression is your thing, make sure to read the full report at the source link below.

Source: Der Spiegel via: Ars Technica

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