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RSA Security, LLC. has been paid approximately $10 million by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to "_install bugs into the company's encryption software so that the agency could spy on its customers_, "according to a recent report published by The Hosting News. Another article, published by CNet, stated that the German magazine Der Spiegel has reported the NSA's Office of Tailored Access Operations (TAO) of being used to "_access computers, hard drives, routers, and other devices from companies such as Cisco, Dell, Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor, and Samsung_" and used to deal with "_hard targets_" and "_systems that are not easy to infiltrate_. "
A statement was released by the RSA, as quoted in The Hosting News article, to say, "_We have worked with the NSA, both as a vendor and an active member of the security community. We have never kept this relationship a secret and, in fact, have openly publicized it. Our explicit goal has always been to strengthen commercial and government security. We have never entered into any contract or engaged in any project with the intention of weakening RSA's products or introducing potential 'backdoors' into our products for anyone's use._" As briefly stated in the CNet article, the RSA "_intentionally allowed the NSA to create a backdoor into its encryption tokens_."
The most recent report from Der Spiegel revealed more details about how access to computers and other devices was gained through the "_backdoors and other spyware_, "according to the CNet article. The CNet article indicates that the TAO accessed the "_protected networks of heads of state worldwide_" and that they execute "_sensitive missions_" while working with both the CIA and FBI. And. Additionally, it has been reported that the TAO broke through the "_security of undersea fiber-optic cables_" and intercepted "_deliveries of electronic equipment to plant spyware to gain remote access to the systems once they are delivered and installed_, "according to the article. Der Spiegel reported that the NSA division called Advanced or Access Network Technology (ANT) uses a "50-page product catalog of tools and techniques" to gain access to numerous types of devices, according to CNet.
The CNet article highlighted some quotes in the Der Spiegel report to say, "_For nearly every lock, ANT seems to have a key in its toolbox. And no matter what walls companies erect, the NSA's specialists seem already to have gotten past them._" The article also quoted the report to described the TAO as a "_unique national asset that is on the front lines of enabling NSA to defend the nation and its allies_" and that its work is "_centered on computer network exploitation in support of foreign intelligence collection._"
Written by Bryon Turcotte / December 30, 2013