Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played by millions of people across the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents.
Fearing that terrorist or criminal networks could use the games to communicate secretly, move money or plot attacks, the documents show, intelligence operatives have entered terrain populated by digital avatars that include elves, gnomes and supermodels.
The spies have created make-believe characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, while also collecting data and contents of communications between players, according to the documents, disclosed by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden. Because militants often rely on features common to video games — fake identities, voice and text chats, a way to conduct financial transactions — American and British intelligence agencies worried that they might be operating there, according to the papers.
via World of Spycraft: NSA and CIA Spied in Online Games – ProPublica.
This article discusses the poll for Time magazine’s Person of the Year award, and that Miley Cyrus is currently in the lead. However, it also brings up an issue that is relevant to class discussion. Two hackers are taking credit for developing a way to bypass the “one vote per person per day” rule and instead cast multiple votes a day for Miley, influencing her lead. This raises the question of security on the internet, as Time also mentioned that they have had issues with their POY poll being hacked in the past. This brings the legitimacy of the poll into question, and the issue of how to prevent the poll from being hacked in the future, if it is possible. Another interesting part from the article is that Snowden is currently in third in the voting, though he is 20% behind Miley.
In this slide from a National Security Agency presentation on “Google Cloud Exploitation,” a sketch shows where the “Public Internet” meets the internal “Google Cloud” where user data resides. Two engineers with close ties to Google exploded in profanity when they saw the drawing.
The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials.
By tapping those links, the agency has positioned itself to collect at will from among hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans. The NSA does not keep everything it collects, but it keeps a lot.
via NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say – The Washington Post.
Leaks from Edward Snowden earlier this year have lead to hundreds of stories by the Guardian and other news outlets that examine the tension between personal privacy and national security. Our reporting has sparked a global debate about the full extent of the NSA’s actions to collect personal data. Our latest story, published Monday, is about MARINA, an NSA application that stores the metadata of millions of web users for up to a year. Read through the full NSA Files archive here.
So, what do you want to know? We will answer as many questions as possible, but of course this is sensitive information. We’ll do the best we can.
via We’re Glenn Greenwald and Janine Gibson of the Guardian US, and we’ve been breaking stories on the NSA Files since June. AUA! : IAmA.
WASHINGTON — As the nation’s spy agencies assess the fallout from disclosures about their surveillance programs, some government analysts and senior officials have made a startling finding: the impact of a leaked terrorist plot by Al Qaeda in August has caused more immediate damage to American counterterrorism efforts than the thousands of classified documents disclosed by Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor.
via Qaeda Plot Leak Has Undermined U.S. Intelligence – NYTimes.com.
In 2005, a National Security Agency employee was given his first day of access to the United States’ SIGINT (signals intelligence) capability. So what did he do with his vast powers?
According to a newly published letter (PDF) by the NSA Office of the Inspector General (OIG), “he queried six e-mail addresses belonging to a former girlfriend, a U.S. person, without authorization.”
An internal NSA audit four days later revealed this violation. His punishment?
“A reduction in grade, 45 days restriction, 45 days of extra duty, and half pay for two months. It was recommended that the subject not be given a security clearance.”
via LOVEINT: On his first day of work, NSA employee spied on ex-girlfriend | Ars Technica.