Operation AURORAGOLD: How the NSA hacks cellphone networks worldwide

“According to documents contained in the archive of material provided to The Intercept by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the NSA has spied on hundreds of companies and organizations internationally, including in countries closely allied to the United States, in an effort to find security weaknesses in cellphone technology that it can exploit for surveillance,” Ryan Gallagher reports for The Intercept.

“The documents also reveal how the NSA plans to secretly introduce new flaws into communication systems so that they can be tapped into—a controversial tactic that security experts say could be exposing the general population to criminal hackers,” Gallagher reports. “Codenamed AURORAGOLD, the covert operation has monitored the content of messages sent and received by more than 1,200 email accounts associated with major cellphone network operators, intercepting confidential company planning papers that help the NSA hack into phone networks.”

“Karsten Nohl, a leading cellphone security expert and cryptographer who was consulted by The Intercept about details contained in the AURORAGOLD documents, said that the broad scope of information swept up in the operation appears aimed at ensuring virtually every cellphone network in the world is NSA accessible,” Gallagher reports. ““Collecting an inventory [like this] on world networks has big ramifications,” Nohl said, because it allows the NSA to track and circumvent upgrades in encryption technology used by cellphone companies to shield calls and texts from eavesdropping. Evidence that the agency has deliberately plotted to weaken the security of communication infrastructure, he added, was particularly alarming. ‘Even if you love the NSA and you say you have nothing to hide, you should be against a policy that introduces security vulnerabilities,’ Nohl said, ‘because once NSA introduces a weakness, a vulnerability, it’s not only the NSA that can exploit it.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: United States Constitution, Amendment IV:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. – Ronald Reagan, March 30, 1961

Visit the Apple-backed reformgovernmentsurveillance.com today.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “David G.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
U.S. feds want Apple’s help to defeat encrypted phones, invoke 18th-century All Writs Act – December 1, 2014
U.S. DOJ turns to 225-year-old law to force Apple, Google to unlock password-protected devices – November 26, 2014
DOJ warns Apple: iPhone encryption will lead to a child dying – November 19, 2014


          1. Uh-hmm. Them “gummint” types first try to fluridate our water to poison us all. Then the gummint spies on the world. It’s all a big conspiracy! All that after faking the moon landings on a sound stage and having the CIA kill Kennedy.

      1. Th EPA has done a lot of good for this country by helping to reduce pollution in our air and water. Not everything that the EPA does is great, but we are far better off with the EPA than without it.

        If you don’t like the EPA, then try to find ways to improve it. But tossing it out is not a viable option, except for idiot extremists. Something about you does appear to be twisted.

        1. It’s not about the environment, EPA or NSA. It’s about getting rid of all the agencys. “Make government small enough to drown in a bathtub.” It’s not a joke, they want anarchy. They want the Rand paradise of Atles Shrugged. Instead we will be China in the 1500s. Lost control of world trade because on man decided to burn all their ships.

        1. “A government by secrecy benefits no one. It injures the people it seeks to serve; it damages its own integrity and operation. It breeds distrust, dampens the fervor of its citizens and mocks their loyalty.”
          Russell Long

          “Secrecy is for losers.”
          Daniel Patrick Moynihan

          “Power corrupts, and there is nothing more corrupting than power exercised in secret.”
          Daniel Schorr

          “Secrecy is the freedom zealots dream of: no watchman to check the door, no accountant to check the books, no judge to check the law. The secret government has no constitution. The rules it follows are the rules it makes up.”
          Bill Moyers

          “The same prudence, which, in private life, would forbid our paying our money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the disposition of public moneys.”
          Thomas Jefferson

          “The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”
          Patrick Henry

          1. And Putin is a master of secrecy.

            You need an NSA to enlighten the works of despots and dictators, or you can get blindsided.

            Hint: Anyone remember what happened in Honolulu over 70 years ago?

            1. The aircraft carriers were moved out of harms way before the attack.

              The battle ships and the smaller ships were left in port to become a target and finally get the people and the government of the USA off it’s collective asses and into World War II.

              Nothing like a not so suprise attact to sturr the loins.

            2. Remember Pearl Harbor!
              Remember 9/11!

              Not so different. We’re simply not ready to look at the current data, and we still require more data to understand the entire set of events that day.

              In any case: 9/11 sure made the PNAC/Neo-Con-Jobs/GW Bush cabinet pee their pants with glee.

              Go on and slag me. There’s still the future ahead despite anything I have to say…

            3. “There’s still the future ahead despite anything I have to say…”

              O wonder!
              How many godly creatures are there here!
              How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
              That has such people in’t.

  1. Two observations: the Fourth Amendment does not apply, and has never applied, to foreign nationals who are not on US soil. American courts have no jurisdiction overseas. I suppose one could go to a Pakistani or Yemeni judge to get a warrant to spy on Al Quaeda, but I don’t think he would grant it.

    Of course he might, since everyone here seems to think we can trust foreign nationals not to harm American interests. If we abolish the NSA, the Russians and Chinese will drop their cyberwar efforts, too. There aren’t any real threats out there. The FBI blew up the World Trade Center, right?

    That is not to say that it is a good idea to create back doors that criminals and foreign intelligence services can use. That is a very bad idea, but not because it is unconstitutional.

          1. Geez, Bot. You are hogging the comments section on MDN even more than usual. That’s a sign you’re off your meds again. Now go upstairs and admit to your mother that you’ve been spiriting the pills under your tongue instead of swallowing.

    1. TxUser, thank you. The Fourth Amendment also does not apply to US citizens when they are not on US soil.

      There are some that say that being a US citizen on US soil but on the phone or Internet to someone NOT on US soil means IT’S SURVEILLANCE TIME! I call bullshit on that concept. That STILL requires a legal warrant. Deal with it NSA ad nauseam.

      Working with computer security, I know full well the value of hacking, cracking, surveilling, monitoring your potential ‘enemies’. They damned well do it to us, not less than China and Russia. But governments DON’T do it to their own citizens while their in their own country. That’s a total UNTOUCHABLE.

      Sadly, we have idiot clowns galore inside #MyStupidGovernment who flaunt the rules whenever it suits them. That includes raping the US Constitution blind, to hell with citizen’s inalienable rights. Put on your steal toed boots. It’s clown kicking time!

      1. Hit my Hannagh! Hit me! How could !??? Rewrite:

        ‘But governments DON’T do it to their own citizens while THEY’RE in their own country.’

        What I’d enjoy: Joining a citizen’s arrest mob, marching into the NSA and throwing those in charge of US citizen surveillance crimes INTO JAIL for TREASON. Legally, it’s our right to do so.

  2. I believe the NSA is working on the behalf of more than one government. They do recruit non-US citizens to work for them, not all of them are bright.

    Intentional weaknesses not only benefits US agencies, but also other non-US agencies as well. Other governments react with disgust, only when such truths come to light, but in the background they are very happy with how things are proceeding.

    Just a theory.

    BTW: It’s also a theory that Snowden is a part of an inter-agency war, where he was planted to collect and leak this information, not all of which is true.

    Part of the plan could be to make others think their comm systems are compromised, when in fact they are not, the endgame is to instill doubt. Even if I am wrong, it doesn’t mater, doubt is that strong and money will be wasted to erase it.

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