Two years ago, the Guardian published information about an NSA surveillance program called XKeyscore—the agency’s “widest-reachest” program, which allows NSA analysts to easily search through things like emails and browser history.
Now The Intercept has published 48 classified documents about the program, claiming it’s as easy to search through as Google, and contains a massive scope of information, from voice calls and webcam photos to the contents of chats and emails.
These newly published documents demonstrate that collected communications not only include emails, chats and web-browsing traffic, but also pictures, documents, voice calls, webcam photos, web searches, advertising analytics traffic, social media traffic, botnet traffic, logged keystrokes, computer network exploitation (CNE) targeting, intercepted username and password pairs, file uploads to online services, Skype sessions and more.
The wide-ranging program had 150 field sites in 2008, with 700 services in countries like the U.S., U.K., Spain, Russia, Japan, and Somalia.
Security researcher Jonathan Brossard, the CEO of Toucan Systems, told The Intercept the program is so user-friendly someone could master it in one day. “They simply enter the name of the server they want to hack into XKEYSCORE, type enter, and are presented login and password pairs to connect to this machine.”
“The amount of work an analyst has to perform to actually break into remote computers over the internet seems ridiculously reduced – we are talking minutes, if not seconds,” he said. “Simple. As easy as typing a few words into Google."
It also allows for searches based on someone’s location, nationality, and browser history.
One of the documents contains a screenshot of an analyst searching for individuals living in Pakistan and visiting certain online forums within a certain timeframe.
Another document describes traffic from social media as “a great starting point” to tracking targets.
In 2013, Snowden claimed that, while sitting as his desk, he could use the program to "wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email".
Read more at The Intercept.