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NSA Denies Impersonating Facebook To Serve Malware

Facebook's Zuckerberg speaks out after Snowden leak suggests NSA server posed as social media site to infect millions of computers with surveillance malware.

Kelly Jackson Higgins

March 14, 2014

1 Min Read

The National Security Agency (NSA) on Thursday shot down as "inaccurate" a media report that the agency may have planted malware on millions of computers worldwide and even impersonated Facebook and other websites to lure potential targets.

The Intercept news site reported Wednesday that classified documents pilfered by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden showed that the NSA had built technology to automatically infect "potentially millions of computers" around the world with malware in order for the agency to glean data from foreign Internet and phone networks. The so-called implant operation reportedly started out as an isolated program for a few hundred targets, but the NSA over the past 10 years has automated some aspects of the program to reach targets on a wider scale, according to The Intercept.

Dubbed TURBINE, the automated system was built to "allow the current implant network to scale to large size (millions of implants) by creating a system that does automated control implants by groups instead of individually," the report quotes NSA documents as saying. Examples included NSA setting up a server posting as a Facebook server to infect a target and grab files from its hard drive, and also using other man-in-the-middle type attacks that reroute victims to the NSA's computers that then inject the "implant" malware.

Read the rest of this story on Dark Reading.

About the Author(s)

Kelly Jackson Higgins

Executive Editor at Dark Reading

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise Magazine, Virginia Business magazine, and other major media properties. Jackson Higgins was recently selected as one of the Top 10 Cybersecurity Journalists in the US, and named as one of Folio's 2019 Top Women in Media. She began her career as a sports writer in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, and earned her BA at William & Mary.  Follow her on Twitter @kjhiggins.

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