A new map details how many companies across the world have been infected by malware by the National Security Agency's team of hackers, and where the companies are located.
Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad reports the NSA uses malware to infect, infiltrate and steal information from over 50,000 computer networks around the globe. This new, previously unreported scope of the NSA's hacking operation comes from another PowerPoint slide showing a detailed map of every infection leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden.
The British intelligence service liked this strategy too, NRC Handelsblad reports, because they successfully duped a Belgium telecom company with a fake LinkedIn account. A strip at the bottom says the map is relative to relative to the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, the "Five Eyes" nations that share intelligence.
The bulk of CNE operations take place in Europe, South American and Asia. Some are speculating CNE operations focus on Internet service providers, telecom giants and other similar companies to better facilitate massive information collection.
Where the NSA's team of hackers fit into the organization's greater intelligence gathering structure is presently unclear. But another new document, a February 2012 memo leaked to The New York Times about the NSA's goals for the future, shows exactly how extensive the NSA thought its intelligence gathering would become. They wanted everything:
Intent on unlocking the secrets of adversaries, the paper underscores the agency’s long-term goal of being able to collect virtually everything available in the digital world. To achieve that objective, the paper suggests that the N.S.A. plans to gain greater access, in a variety of ways, to the infrastructure of the world’s telecommunications networks.
Prior to Edward Snowden revealing the operation to the world and ruining the fun, that is. There's now far more public and international scrutiny directed towards the bulk intelligence gathering operation.