The National Security Agency has routinely intercepted networking equipment that's built in the United States, added backdoor access capabilities, then shipped the devices to their intended recipients abroad.
So says a report by journalist Glenn Greenwald published Tuesday by the Guardian. Greenwald cites a June 2010 document (leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden) labeled as being from the head of the NSA's Access and Target Development group.
"The NSA routinely receives -- or intercepts -- routers, servers, and other computer network devices being exported from the US before they are delivered to the international customers," Greenwald writes. "The agency then implants backdoor surveillance tools, repackages the devices with a factory seal and sends them on. The NSA thus gains access to entire networks and all their users."
According to the document from the NSA -- the US intelligence agency charged with practicing signals intelligence -- this supply chain "SIGINT tradecraft... is very hands-on (literally!)."
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Mathew Schwartz is a freelance writer, editor, and photographer, as well the InformationWeek information security reporter. View Full Bio