New Snowden related documents and an article by Glenn Greenwald reveal National Security Agency programs for hacking and infecting computers on a mass scale using automated systems. The attacks are not just targeted against suspects or "persons of interest", but also against third-parties people who maintain network and computing infrastructure.
By hacking an administrator's computer, the agency can gain covert access to communications that are processed by his company.Sys admins are a means to an end,the NSA operative writes.
The implants being deployed were once reserved for a few hundred hard-to-reach targets, whose communications could not be monitored through traditional wiretaps. But the documents analyzed by The Intercept show how the NSA has aggressively accelerated its hacking initiatives in the past decade by computerizing some processes previously handled by humans. The automated system - codenamed TURBINE - is designed toallow the current implant network to scale to large size (millions of implants) by creating a system that does automated control implants by groups instead of individually.