A new report from The Intercept reveals that the NSA has been hunting and hacking system administrators the world over in order to gain access to the networks they control.
A handful of screengrabs supplied by Edward Snowden reveal that the endeavor was probably worth it for them. Seems the NSA was able to monitor all calls and emails moving through a foreign telecom company's network simply by having access to a sysadmin's PC. To secure access, NSA workers grabbed the admin's IP address, then hacked their Facebook or webmail accounts. From there, they could use surveillance malware to gain full access to the hardware.
The NSA report actually details a dream, for want of a better word, where the Agency had access to a master list of sysadmins that spanned the globe. That would, the documents explain, have allowed the NSA to easily launch digital attack when terrorists or foreign governments used a network overseen by one of the admins. There are even step-by-step methods for attacking the sysadmin's computer using internal NSA tools when that happened.
This was all apparently targeted overseas, but the message is clear: the NSA was targeting system administrators who had done nothing wrong in order that they could be used as pawns in the future. Thanks, NSA. [The Intercept via