Hackers Reverse-Engineer NSA Spying Tools Using Snowden Leaks

Besides exposing all of the not-so-good things the NSA and other clandestine agencies around the world were up to, the documents leaked by Edward Snowden have allowed hackers to reverse-engineer some of the tools the NSA has used to spy on us.

Along with the nefarious details of our constant surveillance, the NSA's Advanced Network Technology catalog—a list of some of the gadgets NSA personnel can use to spy on computers and phones—was also included in the leaked documents.

A team of security researchers led by Michael Ossmann have used the information to reconstruct two surveillance devices used by the NSA. These devices, called "retro reflectors," are tiny radio-based wireless data transmitters, which, when placed on a computer or keyboard, allow information to be gathered (like keystrokes and on-screen images) even when that device is not connected to the internet.

Ossmann says he will present his findings at Defcon, and show others how to protect themselves from future NSA hacks—if that's even possible. [New Scientist via Engadget]