How The NSA Spies: A New Theory

An excerpt from Glenn Greenwald’s new book details how the security agency infiltrates hardware to spy on threats overseas.

How The NSA Spies: A New Theory
[Image: Flickr user Sean MacEntee]

Sleuthing journalist Glenn Greenwald has a new book out today, and in it he brings new accusations about how the National Security Agency siphons up information on foreign targets. An excerpt published by his former employer the Guardian suggests, according to documents obtained by former cyberspy Edward Snowden, that the NSA “routinely receives” and “intercepts” routers, servers, “and other computer network devices being exported from the U.S.” before they are delivered to international customers. Per the excerpt:

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. The document gleefully observes that some “SIGINT tradecraft … is very hands-on (literally!)”.

None of these new allegations should cause a huge surprise. The NSA and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), have shown they are willing to do anything within their far-ranging powers to covertly spy on targets both domestic and international–whether that’s pretending to be Google, trawling the depths of World of Warcraft, or secretly collecting webcam chats and videos from millions of Yahoo users without them knowing.

Greenwald’s book, No Place to Hide, is out today.

About the author

Chris is a staff writer at Fast Company, where he covers business and tech. He has also written for The Week, TIME, Men's Journal, The Atlantic, and more.



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