We all know NSA is powerful. Getting into your email accounts and accessing all the private information that include your pictures, voice calls, private webcam photos (dick picks too), your passwords and they can even watch your Skype sessions just by typing your name and email address. And this is just the beginning. No one knows how far is NSA’s reach and if something called “Private” still exists with the national agency lurking in the shadow keeping an eye over you 24/7.Now the question arises is “Is there any extent to NSA’s breach?” and more importantly, “How do they DO that?” The answer to the first question is a grim NO. And the next one is in a top secret and classified 48 paged documents provided by none other than NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The documents have been published by The Intercept on Wednesday that date back to 2013. These documents have once again brought NSA under scrutiny and their spying policies. The keyword in that pile of documents is XKEYSCORE.
Used just like common man’s Google, XKEYSCORE is NSA’s tool of mass surveillance and it can collect and store data from across the globe for 3 to 5 days, and the important meta data up to 45 days. The documents reveal that there are tens of billions of records stored in the NSA’s database while the XKEYSCORE program runs across thousands of servers globally, thus increasing its processing power and storage capabilities.
NSA has itself referred XKEYSCORE as its “widest reaching” system. The government agency has previously used XKEYSCORE to steal millions of encryption keys that are used to protect cell phone privacy by hacking inside the world’s biggest SIM card provider Gemalto. The program had been even used to spy on U.N. Secretory General Ban Ki-moon to know his points of discussion before his meeting with President Barack Obama.
When it comes to spying on the general public, NSA uses XKEYSCORE to analyze your Facebook and Twitter activities. Even the iOS and Android apps that garner your data after you accept their license agreements are used to track you down by NSA. According to the report by The Intercept, smartphones connections were tracked by XKEYSCORE to app marketplaces of Samsung and Google.
The XKEYSCORE program is very easy to learn and use as per the CEO of Toucan Systems. It is analogous to common man’s Google. Just type the name of the targeted server into XKEYSCORE and then press enter, and there you are with the login and password pairs.
Not only the USA but different nations have access to XKEYSCORE. Canada, New Zealand, and the UK are some of them that use the mass surveillance program to hack into the world’s biggest domains for their personal interests.
NSA has claimed that this program has been developed to fight against terror, but its actions tell an entirely different story. So much lost are the government agencies to secure their countries that they are making their own citizens insecure. It seems that privacy laws do not even exist in the country and neither do the security agency cares.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. With XKEYSCORE as their weapon, right now I’m feeling uneasy about writing this article. So that’s it by me, For now…
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With inputs from: The Intercept