Playing Offense: US Had 231 'Cyber-Operations' in 2011
Washington Post has details on growing cyberwar strategy, from Snowden documents
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2013 10:47 AM CDT
A file photo of the National Security Administration campus in Fort Meade, Md.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(Newser) – The Washington Post's latest reveal from documents provided by Edward Snowden puts the government's rapidly expanding cyberwar program in concrete terms: 231. As in, that's the number of "cyber-operations" conducted in 2011 by various government intelligence agencies. The vast majority of these were against targets such as China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia. The story reflects how the US has shifted strategy in recent years from defending against computer attacks to conducting far more offensive operations. Some odds and ends from the story:

  • Meet GENIE: It's the code name of a $652 million US program to plant malware on foreign networks so the US can gain control. GENIE is expected to have 85,000 such implants in place around the world by the end of this year, quadruple the figure in 2008.

  • Meet the ROC: Called "the Rock," this refers to the Remote Operations Center, where the government's most elite cyberwarriors work. “To the NSA as a whole, the ROC is where the hackers live,” says a former operator. "It’s basically the one-stop shop for any kind of active operation that’s not defensive.”
  • No money stuff: The US-built malware is similar to China's, but officials tell the Post there's one big difference: China goes after corporate secrets, but the US forbids its workers to do economic espionage.
  • Hands-on: The US cyberteams sometimes need CIA operatives to "physically place hardware implants or software modifications" on computers abroad.
Click for the full story. (Or click here for an earlier one about the $52.6 billion "black budget" for surveillance operations.)

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Observer
Sep 1, 2013 1:07 PM CDT
Lies, Lies, and more lies. "The US forbids economic warfare." ROTFL. what bullshit. We destroy economies as policy. Per individual, per family, per company, per country. All the time. Our NSA, Treasury Dept, Secret Service, FBI, CIA, DEA, ICE, DHS and others track money flow around the world 24/7. They launder money with the Mexican cartel billionaires and the Karzai Heroin Dynasty. They follow everone's money. The archive whatever you have ever reported. They monitor 10K transactions. They completely demolish currencies of our enemies. Can you say Iran? But they "never" hack economic foreign and domestic rivals or crime families, or wall street bankers, or Joe the Plumber. BULLSHIT. What liars.
iq145
Aug 31, 2013 6:53 PM CDT
Eventually, Special Ed will run out of info to peddle. Then he'll just be another wanted criminal without a country for the rest of his entire life. He'll be saying "Was it really worth it?" Enjoy it now, Snowjob...
19_56_19_55
Aug 31, 2013 5:39 PM CDT
Some people criticize our government for what the different spy agencies and programs cost. I can tell you from experience our freedom is expensive and there are a lot of terrorist groups and governments that do exactly what were doing. China is the worst of all they flood our markets with inferior products and it don't take a rocket scientist to know it's almost imposable to pay trillions of dollars our so called leaders barrowed from China. I'd like too know why our government barrowed so much money from a country that is whether you like it or not is our enemy and they know most of the secret programs our government is involved in the Chinese find away to steal our secrets and just like the wars were in China & Russia will help our enemy even though its never told to the public. So you Americans that have too much to say against the government just think for a minute what other country would you want to live in than take your ass there. I complain about our government but I will never condemn our government for doing whatever they seem fit to carry that mission out so we can stay free. As far as the NSA they are not the only ones spying on your emails and eavesdropping on the cell phones. than you take a traitor like Snowden, tells our enemies well I tell you the truth if I had a chance at that traitor I would kill him and feel absolutely no remorse he is the worst kind of traitor and I bet he is making good money from our enemies God willing he will stop and think what he left behind and the constant worry who, when and where but when he does pass away I hope our country won't let him be buried in America if that's what he wants.