NSA Spying on Foreign Anti-Virus Companies
Recently uncovered Edward Snowden documents – shows that the NSA has worked to reverse engineer popular security software – specifically targeting foreign made anti-virus software.
British and American intelligence agencies have spied on anti-virus companies and probed their software for weaknesses, as the snoops sought to enhance their offensive surveillance techniques, according to fresh Edward Snowden documents released by The Intercept. This was predictable given previous revelations around the extensive hacking capabilities at GCHQ and the NSA, but for reasons not outlined in the leaks or by the agencies themselves, notable US and UK anti-virus providers were seemingly left untouched, despite being used across the world.
On the hitlist of “Project CAMBERDADA”, an NSA-led initiative, were Russian giant Kaspersky, Finnish firm F-Secure, Romania’s BitDefender, Germany’s Avira, Slovakia’s ESET, South Korean giant AhnLab, as well as Czech vendors AVG and Avast. Some firm’s may have been on the list purely because of their association with Kaspersky. Israel’s Check Point, which licenses the Kaspersky anti-virus engine for its consumer product, ZoneAlarm, was also a target. Older versions of F-Secure also used the Kaspersky signature database, which contained lists of blacklisted malware.–http://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2015/06/22/foreign-av-companies-targeted-by-nsa/
The NSA and its British counterpart the GCHQ have put extensive effort into hacking popular security software products to “track users and infiltrate networks,” according to the latest round of Snowden docs unearthed today by The Intercept.
Cybersecurity companies, including the Moscow-headquartered Kaspersky Lab, were targeted by government agencies to gain intelligence of the latest exploits. Details of the security software’s inner workings were deciphered by agencies through a process called software reverse engineering (SRE), which allowed them to analyze and exploit the software suites.
A top-secret warrant renewal request issued by the GCHQ details the motivations behind infiltrating the products of such anti-virus companies.
“Personal security products such as the Russian anti-virus software Kaspersky continue to pose a challenge to GCHQ’s CNE [Computer Network Exploitation] capability,” the warrant stated, “and SRE is essential in order to be able to exploit such software and to prevent detection of our activities.”
A leaked 2010 presentation called “Project CAMBERDADA” also suggested that the government agencies may be searching through and flagging the emails of employees from cybersecurity firms in order to identify more of these threats.–http://techcrunch.com/2015/06/22/nsa-has-reverse-engineered-popular-consumer-anti-virus-software-in-order-to-track-users/