NSA Employees Gave Edward Snowden Login Credentials, Passwords
November 8, 2013 10:37 AM
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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
, 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
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."
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Lots of comments by sys admins
11/10/2013 8:35:34 AM
There's lots of comments here by sys admins who obviously know better. Rather than just point the finger at the 20-25 users who unknowingly gave up their password to an IT admin, how about their IT training? I suspect they've received inadequate IT security training, so I'd point some fingers at management and possibly IT management as well.
RE: Lots of comments by sys admins
11/10/2013 2:19:47 PM
You're dealing with two big issues:
1. Security 101 - "never give out your passwords to anyone" not practiced by people that routinely handle sensitive information
2. Government - if you receive an order from your superiors, you are expected to do it, and any resistance from yours truly gets treated as disobedience - punishments can range from written reprimands all the way to criminal court.
"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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