How the NSA plans to automatically infect "millions" of computers with spyware

In reading of the elaborate lengths the NSA is willing to go through to infect computers to spy on people, I have to wonder about the vulnerabilities of the Tor anonymity network, particularly to do with exit nodes; I’ve seen it speculated that security agencies would have an interest in setting up exit nodes in order to monitor traffic as it leaves the Tor relay network.

From “The hack of the year”, Sydney Morning Herald, 2007:

Egerstad is circumspect about the possible subversion of Tor by intelligence agencies. “If you actually look in to where these Tor nodes are hosted and how big they are, some of these nodes cost thousands of dollars each month just to host because they’re using lots of bandwidth, they’re heavy-duty servers and so on,” Egerstad says. “Who would pay for this and be anonymous?”

Tor was, after all, initially a project of the US Navy, and the Tor Project still gets most of its funding from various governments, particularly the US government. While there’s some reason for this extraordinarily strange set of bedfellows who have a shared interest in anonymity, it still seems to me that we should be asking if some of that NSA money is going to Tor exit nodes, so the NSA can keep tabs on who’s making efforts to hide.

If you think the NSA isn’t a bureaucracy, you’re mistaken.

If you think the NSA plays by the same rules as other typical bureaucracies, then you’re very mistaken.

I’m quite certain they are just as inefficient as other organizations like the CIA and FBI

The facts don’t support your certainty. And, it’s not realistic to compare the CIA (and their shadow government budgetary and bureaucratic concerns) with that of the FBI, much less comparing the NSA to the FBI.

$70M for expenses for a project for which all the staff

I think you’re locked into a different time paradigm than our current reality. In today’s reality a handful of talented people can run and fully operate a tech company that serves hundreds of millions and is worth multi-billions. The 70 million in question is dedicated to one project, not an entire organization and all facilities.

A handful of hackers and administrators without legal limitations (that normals in the business world have to deal with) isn’t going to require the same budget (not even close) for a solitary, offensive security project.

Also, with today’s technology the costs for nationwide and worldwide operations are rapidly narrowing. You also need to realize the extreme value of the business and political secrets they have access to that creates a black budget ROI that’s priceless for the people directly involved along with their corporatist superiors.

Our public government bureaucracy (that is, what little of it that can actually reach and affect the shadow government’s NSA) is going to be paid for elsewhere with public funds, not directly by the project nor even the NSA itself in many circumstances. You’re trying to compare shadow government with typical government bureaucracies. They are two very different animals.

Go seriously fuck with the Department of Transportation and then with the CIA’s or NSA’s shadow government as a politician or otherwise. See which of those “bureaucracies” has the power to destroy your career or even your life if you keep it up, much less have the same costly oversight concerns. Once again, they are vastly different animals.

security services are not exempted from this; indeed, they are even worse than average

Not all security services are the same. It is much less expensive to operate offensive security services than it is to operate defensive security services.

The NSA is decidedly far more focused on the former than the latter.

This is a problem with establishing the importance of all this leaked information.

Your inability to grasp the accounting, bureaucratic, and operational differences between something like the Department of Labor and shadow government has nothing to do with the quality and veracity of the leaks. Once again, see my mafia analogy in my previous post.

Without actually being in the organization, there is no real way to tell which projects are just powerpoint and which are real

If the leaks were fake, it’s already been proven that the government would jump all over it to help disparage people like Snowden and Greenwald.

As a matter of fact, quasi-governmental entities have already been busted for planning that very strategy against Wikileaks, Greenwald, etc.

If you’ve got some evidence that the leaks are fake and/or are simply plans that were never enacted (despite the fact that there’s evidence to the contrary), then I’d like to see it.


Or possibly 98% of the file they have are not newsworthy, ie boring. Imagine how many spreadsheets tracking the use of paperclips by department there must be.
Hanlon’s Razor is your friend.


dump it all, like Assange?

I agree with your post, but it should be mentioned that Wikileaks doesn’t dump all documents without vetting/redacting them first and/or putting the documents in the care of responsible journalists who also redact/vet the docs. I think there was some honest mistakes in the formulative years, but never just a simple, unthinking “dump” of sensitive data that is sure to get people physically harmed. And, I’ve never heard of any reports that anyone has ever been physically harmed as a result of Wikileaks, but I have heard a lot of lies about them from mainstream corporatist news outlets like CNN, that’s for sure.


Fair enough. I just wanted the commenter to explain what should have been done differently, since s/he eyes what has been done with great suspicion. In other words, commit to whether none should have been released or some, and why. It just seems to always end up being an attack on Greenwald.


I agree with you.

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