Look at this amazing drawing the NSA made for its hacking system

December 30, 2013

(Der Spiegel)

Der Spiegel released a lot of information about the National Security Agency's exploitation efforts within the last few days. But perhaps the most amazing thing it has posted is the illustrated slide above from a presentation describing the hacking system FOXACID.

FOXACID is a previously revealed program the NSA uses to hack into targeted system. Essentially, it's a secret set of Internet servers "designed to act as a matchmaker between potential targets and attacks developed by the NSA." The illustrations by an anonymous NSA cartoonist show a vat of acid dissolving an alarmed fox and presumably the same fox packed into a can of spam that lists "sadism" and "total crap" among its ingredients. Der Spiegel reports that spam e-mail was one of the original ways targets were redirected to FOXACID servers, but  it now uses QUANTUM -- a program where servers deployed at key places on the Internet backbones impersonate legitimate Web sites and trick the target's browser into visiting a FOXACID server.

One last note: If you're the cartoonist, let us know. The Switch would love to talk.

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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Andrea Peterson · December 30, 2013