Facebook flooded with ‘sextortion’ and revenge porn, files reveal | News | The Guardian

Documents seen by the Guardian, which form part of the Facebook Files, show for the first time the detailed rules applied by the company to police sexual content published on the site – as well as the scale of the challenge faced by moderators tasked with keeping Facebook clean.

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Compare the NSA's Facebook Malware Denial to its Own Secret Documents – The Intercept

Compare the NSA’s Facebook Malware Denial to its Own Secret Documents – The Intercept.

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Featured photo - Compare the NSA’s Facebook Malware Denial to its Own Secret DocumentsA top-secret NSA presentation reveals how the agency used Facebook to hack into targeted computers for surveillance.

On Wednesday, Glenn Greenwald and I revealed new details about the National Security Agency’s efforts to radically expand its ability to hack into computers and networks across the world. The story has received a lot of attention, and one detail in particular has sparked controversy: specifically, that the NSA secretly pretended to be a Facebook server in order to covertly infect targets with malware “implants” used for surveillance.

This revelation apparently infuriated Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg so much that he got on the phone to President Barack Obama to complain about it. “I’ve been so confused and frustrated by the repeated reports of the behavior of the US government,” Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post Thursday. “When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government.”

That wasn’t all. Wired ran a piece saying that the NSA’s widespread use of its malware tools “acts as implicit permission to others, both nation-state and criminal.” Slate noted that the NSA’s hacking platform appears to be “becoming a bit more like the un-targeted dragnets everyone has been so upset about.” Meanwhile, Ars Technica wrote that the surveillance technology we exposed “poses a risk to the entire Internet.”

In response, the NSA has attempted to quell the backlash by putting out a public statementdismissing what it called “inaccurate” media reports. The agency denied that it was “impersonating U.S. social media or other websites” and said that it had not “infected millions of computers around the world with malware.” The statement follows a trend that hasrepeatedly been seen in the aftermath of major disclosures from documents turned over by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, in which the NSA or one of its implicated allies issues a carefully worded non-denial denial that on the face of it seems to refute an allegation but on closer inspection does not refute it at all.

Prior to publishing our story, we asked the NSA to explain its use of Facebook to deploy malware as part of a top-secret initiative codenamed QUANTUMHAND. The NSA declined to answer all of our questions or offer context for the documents. We went into meticulous detail in our report, which went through a rigorous fact-checking process because of the gravity of the revelations. What we reported, accurately, was that the Snowden files showed how the agency had in some cases “masqueraded as a fake Facebook server, using the social media site as a launching pad to infect a target’s computer and exfiltrate files from a hard drive.” The source for that detail was not plucked from thin air; it was rooted in multiple documents that refer to the technique in action, including the internal NSA animation that we published.

A particular short excerpt from one of the classified documents, however, has taken on new significance due to the NSA’s statement. The excerpt is worth drawing attention to here because of the clarity of the language it uses about the Facebook tactic and the light it shines on the NSA’s denial. Referencing the NSA’s Quantum malware initiative, the document, dated April 2011, explains how the NSA “pretends” to be Facebook servers to deploy its surveillance “implants” on target’s computers:

 


How the NSA Plans to Infect 'Millions' of Computers with Malware – The Intercept

How the NSA Plans to Infect ‘Millions’ of Computers with Malware – The Intercept.

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Featured photo - How the NSA Plans to Infect ‘Millions’ of Computers with MalwareOne presentation outlines how the NSA performs “industrial-scale exploitation” of computer networks across the world.

Top-secret documents reveal that the National Security Agency is dramatically expanding its ability to covertly hack into computers on a mass scale by using automated systems that reduce the level of human oversight in the process.

The classified files – provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – contain new details about groundbreaking surveillance technology the agency has developed to infect potentially millions of computers worldwide with malware “implants.” The clandestine initiative enables the NSA to break into targeted computers and to siphon out data from foreign Internet and phone networks.

The covert infrastructure that supports the hacking efforts operates from the agency’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, and from eavesdropping bases in the United Kingdom and Japan. GCHQ, the British intelligence agency, appears to have played an integral role in helping to develop the implants tactic.

In some cases the NSA has masqueraded as a fake Facebook server, using the social media site as a launching pad to infect a target’s computer and exfiltrate files from a hard drive. In others, it has sent out spam emails laced with the malware, which can be tailored to covertly record audio from a computer’s microphone and take snapshots with its webcam. The hacking systems have also enabled the NSA to launch cyberattacks by corrupting and disrupting file downloads or denying access to websites.