View Count: 118 |  Publish Date: December 30, 2013
NSA’s top secret hacking unit ‘TAO’ in Texas targets companies from Facebook, to YouTube, Twitter, according to new leaks
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The National Security Agency’s “TAO” hacking unit in San Antonio, Texas has become the intelligence agency’s top operative unit, according to a report by the German publication Der Spiegel, citing internal NSA documents it has reviewed.
The so-called Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, has benefited the most from the NSA’s expansive mandate, the article reports. It has grown the fastest of all NSA units in recent years, and has become the go-to unit to target corporate networks around the world in the name of defending the nation’s security, the article reports.
According to the publication:
TAO’s area of operations ranges from counterterrorism to cyber attacks to traditional espionage. The documents reveal just how diversified the tools at TAO’s disposal have become — and also how it exploits the technical weaknesses of the IT industry, from Microsoft to Cisco and Huawei, to carry out its discreet and efficient attacks.
The article references one of TAO’s sophisticated tools, internally known as “QUANTUMTHEORY”:
A comprehensive internal presentation titled “QUANTUM CAPABILITIES,” which SPIEGEL has viewed, lists virtually every popular Internet service provider as a target, including Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter and YouTube. “NSA QUANTUM has the greatest success against Yahoo, Facebook and static IP addresses,” it states. The presentation also notes that the NSA has been unable to employ this method to target users of Google services. Apparently, that can only be done by Britain’s GCHQ intelligence service, which has acquired QUANTUM tools from the NSA.
The publication also documents another unit called ANT, that can call upon a catalog of exploits and backdoors in devices from Cisco, Huawei, Dell, Juniper, Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor, Samsung.VentureBeat is creating an index of the most exciting cloud-based services for developers. Take a look at our initial suggestions and complete the survey to help us build a definitive index. We’ll publish the official index later this month, and for those who fill out surveys, we’ll send you an expanded report free of charge.Speak with the analyst who put this survey together to get more in-depth information, inquire within.

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Time: 6:45  |  News Code: 359919  |  Site: venturebeat
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