New Delhi, May 22, 2015 | UPDATED 16:38 IST
The NSA might have intended to use popular platforms such as Samsung and Google to spy on people. They planned to infect smartphones with spyware in order to accomplish this, according to documents that CBC news shows received.
The document was obtained from Edward Snowden, according to a report in The
Intercept. According to it, spies from the nations US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand collaborated in a project called the Network Tradecraft Advancement Team. The purpose of this was large scale electronic eavesdropping using smartphone technology. Workshops regarding this were held in Canada and Australia from November 2011 to February 2012.
These agencies were working on a way to hack phone connections to app stores, in a way that they could send ‘implants’ to target devices. These would then be used to extract data from the phones without the user realising it. The report goes on to state that the agencies particularly wanted to target African regions such as Senegal, Sudan and the Congo. Another result of these meetings was finding out vulnerabilities in UC Browser. Since the browser is quite popular in Asia, the leaked information from it led to uncovering of plots about ‘covert activities’ groups were planning in Western nations.
This discovery leads to the debate whether agencies such as these are putting at risk the privacy of millions. By discovering flaws and not reporting them, they might be doing more harm than good.
NSA is yet to respond to the allegations carried in the report.
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