BERLIN – The United States National Security Agency (NSA) is now accused of not just spying on people by hacking into their cellphones but by actually taking over and manipulating computers of unsuspecting individuals world wide.
Germany’s most respected news agency ‘Der Spiegel’ reports on Monday that NSA ‘intercepts and manipulates computers’ by modifying software packages before they are being sold to end users.
Der Spiegel claims it got that information from documents it has about NSA.
The magazine says that NSA ‘implants’ high-tech software on computers that allow it tap into information without being detected. Special spyware is installed on hard drives that can’t be removed, even if an end user wipes out the entire hard disk and reinstalls the operating system from scratch.
TAO (Tailored Access Operations), a special department inside NSA, reportedly found a way to manipulate monitor cables that connect to PCs, allowing NSA to track everything that is visible on the end user’s monitor.
Der Spiegel says that fax machines aren’t safe from the implants either and that a prominent EU representative who is permanently stationed in Washington, was being spied on by NSA while operating his fax machine.
NSA reportedly also takes advantages of the glitches found in the Microsoft Windows Operating System. Microsoft has asked its end users to provide details about the glitches they find by reporting them through an automated and anonymous system. It is that system that NSA hacks into and thus ‘gets first hand knowledge’ what weak spots in computers world wide they can take advantage of.
Reportedly, NSA eavesdrops on cellphones by setting up fake cellphone towers. Users must connect to a tower of their carrier to have a signal. The fake towers make it possible for NSA to listen in to the conversations.
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