[ISN] A Close Look at the NSA’s Most Powerful Internet Attack Tool

http://www.wired.com/opinion/2014/03/quantum/ By Nicholas Weaver Wired.com 03.13.14 We already knew that the NSA has weaponized the internet, enabling it to “shoot” exploits at anyone it desires. A single web fetch, imitated by an identified target, is sufficient for the NSA to exploit its victim. But the Edward Snowden slides and story published yesterday at The Intercept convey a wealth of new detailed information about the NSA’s technology and its limitations. First, it’s clear that the NSA has settled on a system called QUANTUM as its preferred, if not near-universal, internet exploitation mechanism. QUANTUM is vastly more effective than just sending spam. But since its launch at NSA, the program has clearly suffered from both mission creep and target creep. If NSA only used QUANTUM to attack wannabee terrorists attempting to read Inspire, hardly anyone would object. But instead the agency expanded it greatly, not only in target scope (including its confirmed use against Belgacom) but also in functionality. […]