Der Spiegel magazine draws from documents provided by former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden to outline NSA's various efforts to arm itself for and carry out covert cyberwarfare.
NSA in 2013 estimated it needed about $1 billion to maintain and continue developing its cyberwarfare capabilities. The article describes several programs, many of them tied to NSA's Tailored Access Operations (TAO) department and its Remote Operations Center, codenamed S321.
Some of the documents viewed by Der Spiegel outline how NSA's priority with its cyberespionage operations is not just to monitor, but to have the ability to control or destroy other nations' critical systems. NSA reportedly pursues this goal with a vast armory of tailor-made malware designed to enable it to snoop on and seize control of everything from a cell phone to a server farm.
The article also details S321's counter-intelligence efforts to not just identify foreign cyberespionage programs, but to exploit them to siphon off information about other targets. Another project involves subverting hostile botnets and servers to carry out attacks and hide stolen data, granting NSA plausible deniability.
From Der Spiegel (Germany)
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