For recent diverse events in the world, interest in espionage by US intelligence has subsided. Which, undoubtedly, is advantageous for the NSA, since the story initiated by the ex-CIA officer Edward Snowden did not give rest to both the security forces and senior officials of the state.
Since various media outlets began to publish Snowden’s revelations at some intervals, it has become difficult to keep track of all the ingenious ways of American intelligence. Recently, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reporters again returned to the topic of American high-tech espionage and compiled a comprehensive summary of the most common surveillance technology among spies.
NSA agents categorize goals into two categories: “data on the move” and “data at rest”. The first definition includes situations when information must be intercepted at the time of transmission: cell phone calls, data transfer via the Internet, to data centers and via satellites. One of the most difficult ways to transmit information for hacking remains … email. Mail services implement sophisticated encryption systems, and it is often difficult to break open data on the fly. But not impossible. One way to solve the problem is to get hold of the device from which the message was sent, or simply “negotiate” with the mail service provider.
The second category, where the data is at rest, refers mainly to archives and various information storage systems: hard drives, data center archives, contents of mobile gadgets. It is believed that the stored information is rarely encrypted, so spies do not need to find anything they need without any problems. Well, or at worst do not look, but simply deflate the entire contents of the computer, smartphone or even the whole information center. For a collection.
The history of the NSA began with the Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor. Created as one of the Pentagon’s divisions, the agency was supposed to prevent the recurrence of such incidents by collecting information about the plans of US enemies abroad. After the planes stolen by al-Qaeda destroyed the towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the NSA’s tasks began to change gradually. Within the framework of the war against terrorism declared by the George W. Bush administration and on the basis of the famous “Patriotic Act”, the NSA received broad powers to conduct domestic surveillance. From now on, the agency, for example, could eavesdrop on telephone conversations without a court order if at least one of the interlocutors was outside the United States. All this eventually turned into a huge scandal when the newspaper The New York Times revealed
Most of the data collected by the NSA is stored in a data center covering a gigantic area near Bluffdale, Utah. It can hold approximately 12 exabytes of data. Exabyte is the equivalent of 1 billion gigabytes.
It is worth noting that the NSA has several specific, but effective ways to spy on US citizens, as well as foreign “terrorists.”
Call recording : NSA can intercept almost all telephone calls, which are carefully sorted and stored for a month.
Clone phones : communication devices can be replaced with an absolutely identical model, but with an already built-in device for wiretapping conversations and collecting data.
Convenience stores : diplomats during the G-20 summit held in London in 2009 and did not suspect that the majority of Wi-Fi cafes nearby the venue of the summit were “processed” and all data was transmitted to intelligence agencies.
Chips for tracking movement : the NSA has several sophisticated technological methods that allow you to monitor objects regardless of whether the target moves around the city or travels by plane. An example is a sensor that is built into the phone’s SIM card and constantly sends geolocation data to the NSA server.
Special delivery : if a surveillance object buys any digital equipment on the network, NSA agents can intercept a courier carrying, say, a laptop, and a “processed” device will arrive at the client.
X-ray scanner : it may seem fantastic, but the technology exists. The radar emits light waves that make it possible to detect what is displayed on the monitor screen or typed on a computer keyboard.
Credit cards : special services have long been introduced into the Visa network and other large banking systems to collect transaction data.
Satellites : NSA hackers infiltrated German satellite communications control systems serving drilling stations and diplomatic corps.
Spies in games : NSA agents have infiltrated the communities of the popular game universes World of Warcraft and Second Life, where they seek out traces of criminal elements and recruit informants. It is known that special services can be found on the Microsoft Xbox Live network.
Cellular signal interception towers : stations simulating cell towers intercept geolocation data read from the phone’s GPS sensor. Agents can also intercept cellphone calls using a shoe-box-sized receiver.
Submarines : The NSA can directly connect to telecommunication fiber-optic cables running at the bottom of the sea using a modified nuclear submarine.
Secret selfies : the favorite habit of many smartphone users to shoot themselves on the gadget’s camera is only in the hands of American intelligence. The virus implemented in the iPhone allows you to activate the camera and microphone, turning the smartphone into a listening device. Malware for gadgets on Windows allows security officials to gain complete control over the device.
Spy Stones : Transmitters are embedded inside stones and other inconspicuous objects.