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    Snowden Docs: NSA Seeks Hacker Interns for Future of War

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    Imagine getting paid to hack into computers. That’s the not-so-subtle job description for an internship at the super-secret National Security Agency.

    What are you looking at? NSA
    © Flickr / nolifebeforecoffee & @TheRealBanksy
    That little tidbit is part of the treasure trove of information former NSA contractor Edward Snowden gave journalists two years ago that the public is still hearing about to this day. 

    The job was posted by NSA’s Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, which is the department that specializes in hacking into computers, and they look for “interns who want to break things.” According to Snowden documents obtained by the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, the work could include efforts to “remotely degrade or destroy opponent computers, routers, servers and network enabled devices by attacking the hardware.” 

    The NSA has all kinds of cute names for the hacking their interns would do, including playing “Passionatepolka,” “Berserkr,” and “Barnfire” that would create all sorts of havoc on a computer, including those owned by “rival governments.”

    The idea is to develop “an attacker’s mindset.” 

    The fun and games extends beyond hacking to include what the NSA would likely call a complete domination of the Internet. The documents show that the spy agency looks at the potential for future wars where the Internet plays the important role of paralyzing computer networks and literally shutting down infrastructures in the process, since so much is dependent on computers. 

    The next major conflict, says the NSA, “will start in cyberspace,” and efforts to get ahead of the game include working with the military. The NSA itself is an agency within the Department of Defense and is headquartered on a military based in the Washington suburbs; the agency’s director, Michael Rogers in an admiral in the U.S. Navy. 

    The NSA intern/hacker would most likely work in the Remote Operations Center (ROC), the division responsible for covert operations and which uses the code name S321; the employees work in shifts around the clock and operate under the motto, “your data is our data, your equipment is our equipment.”  

    The NSA hackers infiltrate other computers, create malware to track what others are doing, and they have great leeway. The NSA is tasked with protecting U.S. government communications networks, and is authorized to accomplish that using clandestine means, such as computer sabotage through “subversive software.” 

    Sound like something you want to do?

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