NSA Elite Hacking Team Operations Exposed - Quickview

NSA Elite Hacking Team Operations Exposed


By Kelly Jackson Higgins | Dark Reading | January 02, 2014 09:28 AM

It should come as no surprise that the National Security

Agency has a special team of top-gun hackers who breaks into systems around the world to spy on its targets. But revelations published this week by a German magazine about the NSA's Tailored Access Operations (TAO) Group and the agency's homegrown hacking tools shine some light on the scope and expertise of the agency's hacking abilities, including its custom backdoor tools for popular commercial networking equipment and systems.

Der Spiegel reported yesterday that the NSA describes the TAO as specialized in "getting the ungettable" with access to "our very hardest targets." According to the report, the hacking team successfully infiltrated 258 targets across 89 countries, and in 2010, executed some 279 different operations.

The report stops short of confirming whether the TAO team was involved in the creation and execution of Stuxnet, the highly targeted malware program that sabotaged uranium enrichment equipment in Iran's Natanz nuclear facility. But it references leaked internal NSA presentation documents on the agency's goals of hacking "servers, workstations, firewalls, routers, handsets, phone switches, SCADA systems, etc."

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