16:04 GMT +321 September 2019
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    Snowden Docs: NSA Hijacks Third-Party Malware for Spying Purposes

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    That annoying and potentially dangerous malware that you hate -- turns out the National Security Agency finds it useful. It helps the spy agency to hack into target computers, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

    The NSA monitors malware that ends up millions of computers around the world. When they see a malware program that they find value, they surreptitiously piggyback their own program to syphon off the information they want. 

    According to the documents released by Der Spiegel, the NSA also effectively hijack the compromised computers. Those computers infected with botnet malware do the NSA’s bidding and attack other target computers to which the agency wants access.

    What are you looking at? NSA
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    One of the leaked documents contains an NSA worker’s account of how the NSA infiltrated a South Korean program that targeted North Korea. 

    “We found a few instances where there were NK officials with SK implants on their boxes, so we got on the exfil [data exfiltration] points, and sucked back the data,” the staffer wrote. “However, some of the individuals that SK was targeting were also part of the NK CNE program. So I guess that would be the fifth party collect you were talking about.”

    That means the NSA was spying on South Korea and using a South Korean network to then spy on North Korea. South Korea, it might be useful to note, is considered an ally nation.

    Some accounts also show NSA officials used the malware to destroy the contents of target computers, as well.

    Another advantage for the NSA:  If the spying malware is discovered, it will likely be traced back to the hijacked computer rather than back to the NSA.

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