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Snowden then accessed and downloaded secret NSA documents with that information

A new detail about the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) leaks has emerged: agency employees gave former NSA contractor Edward Snowden their login credentials. 

According to a new report from Reuters, Snowden conned between 20 to 25 NSA employees to give him their login credentials and passwords. Snowden did this while working as a computer systems administrator at the NSA regional operations center for a month in Hawaii last spring.

Snowden reportedly told the NSA employees that he needed their passwords in order to do his job. 

However, Snowden used their information to access classified documents that he wasn't supposed to see. He downloaded tens of thousands of secret NSA documents (as well as documents from its British counterpart, Government Communication Headquarters) as a result, and leaked them to the media. 

The report added that a "handful" of NSA employees who gave their passwords to Snowden were identified and removed from their assignments. It wasn't clear whether they were put on other assignments or fired. 

This new information regarding Snowden's use of NSA passwords was revealed when the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee approved a bill that will strengthen security over U.S. intelligence data. The bill will push for the installation of new software that can identify and track attempts to access or download secret materials without authorization.

In addition, the bill will require intelligence contractors to immediately report to spy agencies on incidents in which data networks have been accessed by unauthorized personnel.

Last month, it was reported that the NSA didn't install the most up-to-date, anti-leak software at the Hawaii operations center before Snowden arrived there for work.

In August, reports said that the NSA admitted to touching 1.6 percent of total globe Web traffic. Its technique was to filter data after harvesting it, which led to over-collection on a major scale. 

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt recently called the NSA's spying on data centers "outrageous" and that its strategies of pulling hundreds of millions of records to find a few hundred is "bad public policy" and even "illegal."

Source: Reuters

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RE: NSA security practices... hah!
By drycrust3 on 11/8/2013 2:25:12 PM , Rating: 2
It's amazing that so many employees would violate such a simple security 101 rule - in such a top secret agency!

That is a bit unfair. Without the say so of the Systems Administrator they have no access to any computer system, so they can't do their job, or they have no email, or, if they forgot which password was to be used on which system and it logged them out, then it could be a while (like several days) before they could get to try again. Some of them may have had problems getting employment, or be in trouble because they weren't snooping on every one, and would be nervous that if they didn't comply with an official request then they could loose their job or be "demoted" ... which is exactly what happened to them because they did follow what they believed was an official request.
Yes, I know Snowden was acting outside of his authority, but they wouldn't know this, even if they didn't trust him they still would have believed he was acting on an official request from a higher authority and that they had to comply ... like the Systems Administrator that demanded my treasured Microsoft Word 4 hard cover hand book when we were shifting offices, promised to return it, and never did.
As an aside, I do feel this is a sad indictment on what Snowden has done ... I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but it does give his halo a more of a greyish tint than the shiny white it previously was. I do hope they don't overlook this when the movie comes out.

RE: NSA security practices... hah!
By nafhan on 11/8/2013 3:06:20 PM , Rating: 2
That is a bit unfair.
Nope. It's completely fair. These people are charged with the safekeeping of top secret documents and they're giving out their passwords (`- almost certainly in violation of policy.
I do feel this is a sad indictment on what Snowden has done
Why? He exploited an insecure system, which we already knew. This is just specifics. If you feel like what Snowden did was right, then these people whose passwords he snagged were doing something wrong by not similarly exposing the illegal activities of the NSA.

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