Jan 13

- As NSA Pairs With Banks To “Fight Hackers”, Will It Also Gain Access To Every American’s Financial Details? (ZeroHedge, Jan 13, 2013):

Just because there was not enough encroachment by the government into virtually every area of private life, here is another “collaboration” that will further enmesh big brother into every aspect of private life, in this case private financial life, because as the WaPo reports, “major U.S. banks have turned to the National Security Agency for help protecting their computer systems after a barrage of assaults that have disrupted their Web sites, according to industry officials. The attacks on the sites, which started about a year ago but intensified in September, have grown increasingly sophisticated, officials said. The NSA, the world’s largest electronic spying agency, has been asked to provide technical assistance to help banks further assess their systems and to better understand the attackers’ tactics.”

And while we salute the great diversionary pretext that “Iranian hackers” pose a greater risk to the stability of the US financial system than, say, the ongoing monetization of US debt at a pace of $85 billion per month, which has made the Fed’s DV01 rise to a mindboggling $2.75 billion, or idiot pundits who claim all American problems can be resolved with one coin, we can’t help but wonder what happens when the most intrusive of US spy agencies, one which as reported last year is free “to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store” virtually every electronic communication in the entire world, now has full explicit access to all bank data, and, incidentally, every American’s financial snapshot at any given moment?

More on the official spin:

The cooperation between the NSA and banks, industry officials say, underscores the government’s fears about the unprecedented assault against the financial sector and is part of a broader effort by the government to work with U.S. firms on cybersecurity. Nonetheless, the assistance is likely to dismay privacy advocates, who say that the NSA has no business peering inside private companies’ systems, even if for the strict purpose of improving computer security.

U.S. intelligence officials said last year they believe the attacks against the banks and other companies have been carried out by Iran, although some experts have cautioned that it is difficult to accurately determine who is behind them.

The banks whose Web sites have been disrupted include Bank of America, PNC Bank, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, HSBC and SunTrust. In recent weeks, attackers have targeted up to seven banks a day, but only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

So Monday and Friday are holy days for Iranian hackers we take it?

It appears that the private anti-hacker sector is completely powerless to withstand this massive onslaught of millions of Iranian hackers hell bent on seeing just how much money the average American has in their Bank of America online account page:

The banks whose Web sites have been disrupted include Bank of America, PNC Bank, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, HSBC and SunTrust. In recent weeks, attackers have targeted up to seven banks a day, but only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Enter the NSA, which has generously agreed to provide its expertise in learning all there is to know about everyone’s finances thwarting evil Iranian hacks.

The government’s willingness to engage “is emblematic of how these cyber-related risks are evolving,” the bank official said. “Agencies like the NSA have tremendous expertise for very sophisticated types of information-security programs.”

In general, it can provide assistance to private-sector companies when their systems are seen as critical to national security, said Richard George, a former computer security official at the NSA. The request must come from a government agency, such as the Treasury Department or the Department of Homeland Security, that has authority to work with the company.

But don’t worry – the NSA is with the government, and it is here to help:

“The dual mission of the NSA, to promote security and to pursue surveillance, creates an intractable privacy problem,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

 

Former NSA officials say privacy concerns are overblown and note that requests for NSA assistance are denied when there is no national security interest at stake. George said that, over the past decade, the agency has aided about 10 companies a year after their networks were compromised.

“If NSA is involved [with the banks], it’s because they would love to see what’s happening on the victim’s side,” a second former defense official said. “There’s probably more for the government to learn than to give.”

In conclusion:

The NSA declined to comment for this article beyond a statement saying that the agency provides assistance “in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.”

Enlighten us, please, which applicable laws and regulations are these? The same ones that give the government the right to detain citizens indefinitely. Or the one granting it the right to spy and monitor all Americans’ emails and calls without a warrant? Because we are confused.

 

Just because there was not enough encroachment by the government into virtually every area of private life, here is another “collaboration” that will further enmesh big brother into every aspect of private life, in this case private financial life, because as the WaPo reports, “major U.S. banks have turned to the National Security Agency for help protecting their computer systems after a barrage of assaults that have disrupted their Web sites, according to industry officials. The attacks on the sites, which started about a year ago but intensified in September, have grown increasingly sophisticated, officials said. The NSA, the world’s largest electronic spying agency, has been asked to provide technical assistance to help banks further assess their systems and to better understand the attackers’ tactics.” 

And while we salute the great diversionary pretext that “Iranian hackers” pose a greater risk to the stability of the US financial system than, say, the ongoing monetization of US debt at a pace of $85 billion per month, which has made the Fed’s DV01 rise to a mindboggling $2.75 billion, or idiot pundits who claim all American problems can be resolved with one coin, we can’t help but wonder what happens when the most intrusive of US spy agencies, one which as reported last year is free “to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store” virtually every electronic communication in the entire world, now has full explicit access to all bank data, and, incidentally, every American’s financial snapshot at any given moment?

More on the official spin:

The cooperation between the NSA and banks, industry officials say, underscores the government’s fears about the unprecedented assault against the financial sector and is part of a broader effort by the government to work with U.S. firms on cybersecurity. Nonetheless, the assistance is likely to dismay privacy advocates, who say that the NSA has no business peering inside private companies’ systems, even if for the strict purpose of improving computer security.

 

U.S. intelligence officials said last year they believe the attacks against the banks and other companies have been carried out by Iran, although some experts have cautioned that it is difficult to accurately determine who is behind them.

 

The banks whose Web sites have been disrupted include Bank of America, PNC Bank, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, HSBC and SunTrust. In recent weeks, attackers have targeted up to seven banks a day, but only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

So Monday and Friday are holy days for Iranian hackers we take it?

It appears that the private anti-hacker sector is completely powerless to withstand this massive onslaught of millions of Iranian hackers hell bent on seeing just how much money the average American has in their Bank of America online account page:

The banks whose Web sites have been disrupted include Bank of America, PNC Bank, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, HSBC and SunTrust. In recent weeks, attackers have targeted up to seven banks a day, but only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Enter the NSA, which has generously agreed to provide its expertise in learning all there is to know about everyone’s finances thwarting evil Iranian hacks.

The government’s willingness to engage “is emblematic of how these cyber-related risks are evolving,” the bank official said. “Agencies like the NSA have tremendous expertise for very sophisticated types of information-security programs.”

 

In general, it can provide assistance to private-sector companies when their systems are seen as critical to national security, said Richard George, a former computer security official at the NSA. The request must come from a government agency, such as the Treasury Department or the Department of Homeland Security, that has authority to work with the company.

But don’t worry – the NSA is with the government, and it is here to help:

“The dual mission of the NSA, to promote security and to pursue surveillance, creates an intractable privacy problem,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

 

Former NSA officials say privacy concerns are overblown and note that requests for NSA assistance are denied when there is no national security interest at stake. George said that, over the past decade, the agency has aided about 10 companies a year after their networks were compromised.

 

“If NSA is involved [with the banks], it’s because they would love to see what’s happening on the victim’s side,” a second former defense official said. “There’s probably more for the government to learn than to give.”

In conclusion:

The NSA declined to comment for this article beyond a statement saying that the agency provides assistance “in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.”

Enlighten us, please, which applicable laws and regulations are these? The same ones that give the government the right to detain citizens indefinitely. Or the one granting it the right to spy and monitor all Americans’ emails and calls without a warrant? Because we are confused.

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