Many of them, published on Der Spiegel , show that the National Security Agency and its allies are methodically preparing for future wars carried out over the internet.
Der Spiegel reports that the intelligence agencies are working towards the ability to infiltrate and disable computer networks — potentially giving them the ability to disrupt critical utilities and other infrastructure.
The NSA and GCHQ think they’re so far ahead of everyone else, they’re making jokes about it.
One of the major themes from the new documents involves the ability of Five Eyes intelligence agencies to exploit the methods of its adversaries — efforts to “steal their tools, tradecraft, targets, and take.” The NSA calls this impressive capability “fourth party collection” which sounds like a 1970’s prog rock band.
NSA and GCHQ have cracked jokes about it in top-secret slide decks. In an NSA presentation titled “fourth party opportunities,” the first slide references Daniel Day-Lewis’ “I drink your milkshake” monologue from the 2007 film There Will Be Blood. Der Spiegel says that a NSA unit traced an attack on the Department of Defence back to China and covertly listen in on future Chinese spying efforts, including one digital infiltration of the United Nations.
GCHQ can exploit “leaky mobile apps” using a tool called “BADASS.” In it, the spy agency walks through its ability to glean personal information from metadata sent between users’ devices and mobile ad networks and analytics firms.
This is data that’s not supposed to contain personally identifiable information. Several slides are titled “Abusing BADASS for Fun and Profit.” One slide boasts: “We know how bad you are at Angry Birds.”
Der Spiegel commented: “It’s absurd: as they are busy spying, the spies are spied on by other spies. In response, they routinely seek to cover their tracks or to lay fake ones instead.”