The latest national security related revelation to come from the documents leaked by Edward Snowden is an account of how offensive computer operations work, and how many there are. The Washington Post reports that in 2011, 231 took place with about three quarters of them against “top-priority” targets, which its sources indicate include Iran, Russia, China and North Korea. Also interesting are details of software and hardware implants designed to infiltrate network hardware, persist through upgrades and access other connected devices or networks. The effort to break into networks is codenamed Genie, while the “Tailored Access Operations” group custom-builds tools to execute the attacks. One document references a new system “Turbine” that automates control of “potentially millions of implants” to gather data or execute an attack. All of this access isn’t possible for free however, with a total cyber operations budget of $1.02 billion which includes $25.1 million spent this year to purchase software vulnerabilities from malware vendors. Get your fill of codenames and cloak-and-dagger from the article posted tonight, or check out the “Black Budget” breakdown of overall intelligence spending.
Filed under: Internet