NSA's reported Huawei hack gives glimpse of agency's role in 'cyber Cold War'

A new report based on the trove of secret NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden gives a glimpse of the agency's role in the cyber-intrigues taking place between the US and China, with files showing that the NSA hacked into Chinese router-maker Huawei's servers with the hope of gaining info on government plans and of exploiting the company's products to spy on other foreign rivals.

The New York Times reports that the NSA "pried its way into the servers in Huawei's sealed headquarters in Shenzhen, China's industrial heart" and "obtained information about … Read more

Obama talks spying with Facebook's Zuckerberg, Google's Schmidt

As expected, President Obama met with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, and other tech executives Friday afternoon to discuss efforts to reform the National Security Agency's controversial surveillance programs.

"The President used this opportunity to update the CEOs on our progress in implementing the principles and reforms he announced on January 17, including the new Presidential Directive he issued to govern our intelligence activities that will ensure that we take into account our security requirements, but also our alliances, our trade and investment relationships, including the concerns of our companies, … Read more

Obama to meet again with tech leaders over surveillance

President Obama plans to meet with a select group of technology CEOs on Friday to discuss "issues of privacy, technology, and intelligence," a White House official told Politico.

A full list of chief executives was not made available by the White House, but industry sources told Politico that Google, Facebook, and Yahoo had been invited to the meeting. CNET has contacted those companies for comment on their participation and will update this report when we learn more.

It's the second such meeting Obama has held with Silicon Valley executives in recent months over controversial US electronic surveillance … Read more

NSA top lawyer says tech giants knew about data collection

The top lawyer for the National Security Agency and others from the Obama administration made it clear to the US government's independent oversight board that tech titans knew about government surveillance while it was going on.

NSA general counsel Rajesh De told the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board on Wednesday that tech titans were aware that the NSA was collecting communications and related metadata both for the NSA's "PRISM" program and for "upstream" communications crossing the Internet. PRISM is a surveillance program designed to collect and process "foreign intelligence" that passes … Read more

NSA can reportedly record every call made in a foreign country

The National Security Agency has the capability to record "100 percent" of the telephone calls placed in a foreign country and play them back up to a month later, according to a report Tuesday by The Washington Post.

Known as MYSTIC, the surveillance system dates back to 2009, according to documents supplied to the newspaper by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The program, which wasn't fully operational until 2011, intercepts and records and stores billions of calls for 30 days on a rolling buffer that purges the oldest recordings as new ones arrive, according to one classified … Read more

IBM: No, we did not help NSA spy on customers

IBM has denied any involvement with the US National Security Agency's surveillance programs, and the company claims it has never handed over any client data to governmental bodies.

In response to allegations concerning the NSA's PRISM surveillance program, Big Blue has posted a response in the form of a blog post written by Robert C. Weber, IBM's senior vice president of Legal and Regulatory Affairs. Weber writes that IBM has never handed over client data to any third party, and would send the US agency to the client rather than assist the governmental body:

IBM is fundamentally … Read more

Woz: Snowden is a hero and Apple is the purest of all

I don't want to go all Apple vs. Microsoft on you, but we have a national security situation.

The eminences grises of these two famous companies have come out on opposing sides of one of today's great political debates.

Earlier this week, Microsoft's Bill Gates told Rolling Stone of Edward Snowden: "I think he broke the law, so I certainly wouldn't characterize him as a hero."

Just in case you didn't quite get what he was saying, he added: "You won't find much admiration from me."

However, on Thursday, Apple … Read more

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg phones Obama about NSA

It's no secret that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg thinks the National Security Agency has overstepped its bounds when it comes to the agency's surveillance practices, but on Thursday the social network's chief said he took his gripe directly to the nation's commander-in-chief.

"I've called President Obama to express my frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future," Zuckerberg said in an update to his Facebook page. "Unfortunately, it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform."

Zuckerberg's status update comes … Read more

NSA system designed to attack 'millions' of computers -- report

Through an operation called Turbine, the NSA crafted an automated system designed to hack "millions" of computers, new documents from Edward Snowden's leaks on government surveillance reveal.

According to documents published by The Intercept on Wedesday, Turbine created "implants" that let it gain access to peoples' computers. Getting the implants onto machines involved an array of deceptions: fake Facebook Web pages, spam emails with malicious links, and man-in-the-middle attacks that would "shoot" bogus data at a target's computer when the NSA detected it was visiting a Web site the NSA could spoof. … Read more

In most-anticipated SXSW talk in years, Snowden fires up Austin

AUSTIN, Texas -- And on Monday, Edward Snowden showed up.

It was perhaps the most-anticipated South by Southwest Interactive talk since Mark Zuckerberg gave a keynote speech in 2008: Snowden appearing live, by teleconference, from Russia.

And though today's talk lacked the fireworks that erupted during Zuckerberg's onstage interview with Sarah Lacy, there's little doubt that the 5,000 people in the room -- plus thousands more in two nearby overflow rooms and those watching a livestream online -- were hanging on Snowden's every word. Indeed, despite reports that Dunham's talk was more popular (as … Read more