It has been estimated that Snowden has stolen more than 1.7 million confidential files from the NSA, but how he did it?
The New York Times reports Snowden has used an inexpensive and widely available software to “scrape” the NSA’s networks, the revelations came from the
Intelligence officials involved in the investigation. Another disturbing revelation regarding the discovery is that Snowden has continued to gather internal documents
even after he was briefly challenged by agency officials.
Snowden used a simple web crawler application to scan the network and scrape data out of our systems.
“We do not believe this was an individual sitting at a machine and downloading this much material in sequence,” [ The process was ]“quite automated.” the official said.
Recently it published an intelligence report issued by The Federal Government’s Track Record which provided a scaring picture on cybersecurity for US Government entities, and the circumstance seems to confirm it.
The NSA declined to comment on its investigation, officials anonymously contacted doesn’t provided further information of the web crawler used by Snowden, but it is mysterious why the presence of a web crawler in a highly classified network was not detected.
“Agency officials insist that if Mr. Snowden had been working from N.S.A. headquarters at Fort Meade, Md., which was equipped with monitors designed to detect when a huge volume of data was being accessed and downloaded, he almost certainly would have been caught. But because he worked at an agency outpost that had not yet been upgraded with modern security measures, his copying of what the agency’s newly appointed No. 2 officer, Rick Ledgett, recently called “the keys to the kingdom” raised few alarms.”
“When inserted with Mr. Snowden’s passwords, the web crawler became especially powerful. Investigators determined he probably had also made use of the passwords of some colleagues or supervisors.” reports the NYT.
The head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, reported to lawmakers that Mr. Snowden’s “disclosures could tip-off adversaries to American military tactics and operations”, for this reason the US Government is spending a great effort and huge investments to restore a secure situation.
“Everything that he touched, we assume that he took,” [including details of how the military tracks terrorists, of enemies’ vulnerabilities and of American defenses against improvised explosive devices] “We assume the worst case.” said General Flynn
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(Security Affairs – Snowden, NSA)