You know you have a problem on your hands when the government, who is supposed to be protecting you, uses malware. Of course, to observers of law enforcement tactics the use of malware by the feds to get into areas where they are normally shut out isn’t anything new. After all, the US Supreme Court has ruled time and time again that it is perfectly okay for the government to lie and even use stolen information, in certain situations, to investigate a crime. Of course, this is cold comfort for people who are happily surfing away on their computers. You might just be another click away from getting on the US government’s surveillance lists. Thanks to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the NSA used malware to get into over 50,000 private computer networks. Ouch.
If that level of intrusion is not enough to get you excited enough to think of calling your congressman, wait, there’s more. The malware was designed primarily with one objective in mind: to steal information. Your information. Of course, the fans and backers of the NSA would say that this shouldn’t surprise anyone. After all, the NSA already says so much on its own official website. Under information discussing the agency’s mission, the phrase CNE or Computer Network Exploitation is listed. In bureaucrat speak, the NSA covers its backside through the following proviso: the CNE’s activities “includes enabling actions and intelligence collection via computer networks that exploit data gathered from target or enemy information systems or networks.” In light of this revelation as well as the NSA’s hacking task force called TAO (Tailored Access Operations), we can understand why more and more consumers are looking to crypto currencies, secure browsers, and secure networks to get out from under the all-pervasive gaze of the government.
Who’s protected from all this snooping? Well, apparently not Germany (its prime minister’s phone records were hacked), France and other ‘allies.’ Nope. The only countries immune to the scope of the NSA are the ‘Five Eyes’ composed of Anglophone countries New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US. This doesn’t exactly make any non-angolophone company feel safe and secure from unwarranted digital prying. Expect countermeasures to develop fast and run deep.