Security

Hacker uses open source to replicate NSA spy tools

spying
Image Credit: Korionov/Shutterstock

Thanks to hacker Michael Ossmann, you can now build gadgets like the National Security Agency uses to intercept communications from the comfort of your own home.

Ossmamnn, a prolific engineer who specializes in wireless Internet security and is widely known for the open source HAckRF, Ubertooth and Dashio projects, was curious about the NSA’s ANT catalog leaked by fugitive Edward Snowden.

He decided to do something about it.

“Could we – could I – make the gadgets that the agency uses to monitor and locate mobile phones, tap USB and Ethernet connections, maintain persistent malware on PCs, communicate with malware across air gaps, and more, by just using open source software and hardware?” he asked himself, according to the online publication Help Net Security.

The answer was, for the most part, yes.

Ossmann shared his findings at the Hack in the Box Amsterdam 2014 conference and also recorded a detailed podcast how you, as an engineer, can build tools more or less just like the NSA uses to intercept email, files, calls, IM’s and everything else in the ether.

Listen to podcast here.

The NSA’s ANT catalog, leaked by the Russia-dwelling Snowden, was published in the German publication Der Spiegel. It contains a veritable treasure trove of relatively detailed slides showing many of the types of equipment in the NSA toolbox and deployed by agency collection teams worldwide.