A Cyber Security Strike on Over 50,000 Global Targets

Among the myriad of files exposed by former CIA undercover operative Edward Snowden, was a secret NSA graphic slide from the National Security Agency showing 50,000 plus global targets consisting of computer systems that have been systematically infected with malware for the express purpose of gathering intelligence and data about foreign targets. Additionally, the malware allows for the eavesdropping of ongoing communications to further compromise the target's information security.


NSA's Elite Team
The scope of malware penetration includes targets located in Europe, South America, Asia, Russia and Mexico. The malware attacks, designed to lay a framework of entry points for penetration by American agents, were successfully carried out by NSA's special TAO task force of cyber operations known as Tailored Access Operations.
The framework consists of digital sleeper cells designed to be remotely controlled by the simple push of a button. According to the Washington Post and FP National Security, this type of data mining is nothing new, and It's been an important part of the NSA's cyber security computer network exploitation (CNE) since 1998. It also includes the seamless penetration of various Chinese telecom and computer systems within the People's Republic of China for close to 15 years.
TAO, staffed by an elite team of over 1,000 civilian and military hackers, computer hardware/software designers, intelligence analysts, electrical engineers and targeting specialists, is the largest and the most valuable NSA resource. Among TAO's other responsibilities, they are also charged with the development of tactics that would give the United States the ability to execute a massive cyber attack that would result in destroying or severely damaging foreign telecoms and computer systems upon the direction of the president.
The responsibilities of the TAO team expressly exclude any work on domestic targets within the United States, or any U.S. possessions. This responsibility falls under the exclusive direction of the FBI. However, the question is top of mind as to how TAO is capable of successfully obtaining foreign intelligence while avoiding data and communications that originate in or pass through the U.S.
Jacqueline von Ogden

Since 1999, Jacqueline has written for corporate communications, MarCom agencies, higher education, and worked within the pharmacy, steel and retail industries. Since joining the tech industry, she has found her "home".