NSA Accused Of Hijacking Laptop Shipments, Spying On Undersea Cables

NSA Accused Of Hijacking Laptop Shipments, Spying On Undersea Cables
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In case you weren’t scared enough of the reach of the US National Security Agency, reports coming out of Germany are accusing the intelligence agency of literally seizing shipments of computers, installing malware and sometimes even hardware bugs on them.

The allegations have been published by German news site Der Spiegel, and are reportedly based on internal NSA documents. They claim that the NSA’s “Tao” hacking unit, “the intelligence agency’s top secret weapon”, has not only been installing these surveillance measures on the freshly-purchased laptops of “a target person”, but that they’ve also been successful in tapping the fibre undersea cables that connect the world’s internet.

“If a target person, agency or company orders a new computer or related accessories, for example, TAO can divert the shipping delivery to its own secret workshops” the report says. “The NSA calls this method interdiction. At these so-called ‘load stations’, agents carefully open the package in order to load malware onto the electronics, or even install hardware components that can provide backdoor access for the intelligence agencies. All subsequent steps can then be conducted from the comfort of a remote computer.”

Not one of the companies whose gear was being hijacked said they were aware of the NSA’s actions.

A second Der Spiegel report blows the lid on a “catalogue” that NSA agents have access to, from which they can order spy gear that costs up to $US250,000.

Inside TAO: Documents Reveal Top NSA Hacking Unit [Der Spiegel]


  • Local governments are aware, Tony Abott, where is the Government’s balls? Did they get lost because you’re scared of standing up for the citizens of your own country?

  • Every time it looks like it’s as bad as it gets, we find out that the NSA has done yet another ridiculous thing to overstep their jurisdiction as a law enforcement agency.

    They are literally stealing your shit as you buy it and putting surveillance hardware into it.

      • The problem is that, if you’ve ordered anything from the US, chances are that they might have installed it on whatever you’re using.
        China on the other hand only do it to their own people, the NSA is stepping into international boundaries and it’s the kind of thing that needs a reconstruction now.

        • They aren’t hijacking all the things and putting backdoors on them at random. They are planting them into items ordered by people who they are surveilling.
          This is the thing people don’t seem to get, they aren’t spying on people at random. They might collect mass data in various ways but targeted surveillance is not random and unless you are involved in terrorist activities or associate with people who are then you will likely never come anywhere near having your shit spied on.

          • The question is who is a person of interest? Why are they? Nobody is performing checks on the NSA to make sure that their near-limitless power isn’t completely without oversight.

            Essentially, “Who watches the Watchmen?”

  • They can and so they will. It’s up to the US government to stop them, but history has shown that the US government rarely bothers to reign them in. And even on the very rare occassions when the US government tries to stop them from doing something, the NSA and the CIA often do whatever the hell they want to do anyway.

  • I wonder if I am alone (apart from the NSA) in feeling that everything I have read about them doing does not bother me at all.

  • agreed im the same it’s annoying but it’s something we all knew they were doing anyway now we just know details

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