NSA Denies Using Facebook to Hack Into Your Computer

An agency statement rebuffs a recent report that it has masqueraded as the social network.

Activists protest the surveillance of U.S. citizens by the NSA outside the Justice Department where President Barack Obama gave a major speech on reforming the NSA January 17, 2014.
National Journal
Dustin Volz
Add to Briefcase
Dustin Volz
March 13, 2014, 2:07 p.m.

The Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Agency on Thursday denied us­ing a dop­pel­gang­er ver­sion of Face­book, say­ing it lacks the abil­ity to do so and only con­ducts for­eign in­tel­li­gence op­er­a­tions that are “law­ful and ap­pro­pri­ate.”

“NSA does not use its tech­nic­al cap­ab­il­it­ies to im­per­son­ate U.S. com­pany web­sites,” the agency said in a state­ment. “Nor does NSA tar­get any user of glob­al In­ter­net ser­vices without ap­pro­pri­ate leg­al au­thor­ity. Re­ports of in­dis­crim­in­ate com­puter ex­ploit­a­tion op­er­a­tions are simply false.”

The ma­ligned fed­er­al agency was hit with a re­newed wave of flog­ging Wed­nes­day after a re­port by First Look Me­dia said the NSA had at times “mas­quer­aded as a fake Face­book serv­er” in or­der to in­fect tar­geted com­puters with mal­ware. Doc­u­ments from 2009 provided by former NSA con­tract­or Ed­ward Snowden pub­lished in the re­port de­tailed a secret pro­gram called “Tur­bine” that was de­signed to hack in­to com­puters and gath­er data from for­eign net­works.

Nowhere in the NSA’s state­ment, however, does it defin­it­ively state that the agency has nev­er pre­vi­ously posed as an­oth­er web­site for sur­veil­lance pur­poses. The agency is known for its care­fully worded state­ments couched in qual­i­fy­ing lan­guage.

In re­sponse to the story, a Face­book spokes­man told Na­tion­al Journ­al that the NSA could not cur­rently spoof its site in the man­ner de­scribed in the First Look re­port be­cause the site fin­ished in­teg­rat­ing se­cure com­mu­nic­a­tions pro­tocol last year. But Face­book didn’t rule out that such ex­ploit­a­tion could have oc­curred in the past, when stand­ard com­mu­nic­a­tions pro­tocol was used.

The com­pany ad­di­tion­ally denied ever hav­ing evid­ence or know­ledge of the spy pro­gram.

Earli­er on Thursday, Face­book founder Mark Zuck­er­berg pos­ted a pub­lic note on his page that cri­ti­cized Pres­id­ent Obama and his ad­min­is­tra­tion for its sur­veil­lance pro­grams.

What We're Following See More »
FORMER GOVERNOR, AMBASSADOR TO CHINA
Jon Huntsman in Line to be #2 at State
39 minutes ago
THE DETAILS
SHOW OF UNITY
Ellison Bringing New DNC Chair Perez To Trump’s Address
44 minutes ago
BREAKING
CASE TO CARRY ON
DOJ Drops Claim Against Texas’s Voter ID Law
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Department of Justice "is dropping a discrimination claim against a Texas law that required voters to present identification at the polls." The case will continue to carry on with private groups who filed the lawsuit. The DOJ dropped the claim because Texas is planning to "cure the deficiencies" with the law, according to a draft copy of the dismissal motion the DOJ sent to the Campaign Legal Center. Texas Governor Jim Abbott tweeted a picture of a headline sharing the information with a caption saying "It's a new day in D.C."

Source:
TROUBLE LOOMING?
Durbin Says Government Shutdown Possible
2 hours ago
THE LATEST
AT LEAST 19 TODAY
Jewish Community Keeps Receiving Threats
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login