NSA Russia Security

“Not a Matter of if, But When”

According to a report that aired on NBC News last night, virtually everyone entering the Sochi games will immediately be at risk of having their information compromised. And as the State Department has said, you should expect no privacy.

“Malicious software hijacked our phone before we even finished our coffee, stealing my information, and giving hackers the option to tap and record my phone calls.”

Similarly, ABC News reports that Russian intelligence will vacuum everything.

It should certainly be expected,” agreed a senior U.S. intelligence official, who told ABC News that the influx of tens of thousands of American spectators and dignitaries will be “an intelligence bonanza” for both Russian spies and organized crime groups. [...]

The Russian electronic surveillance program, called SORM, rivals any American domestic FBI or NSA surveillance program — with one key difference: the Russians don’t need the formality of a court order to suck up all of the targeted person’s data, which is archived for three years. [...]

“The Russians will own your communications when you go there. The only way to guard against that is to take a clean device and use a temporary email address,” Joel Brenner, who served as U.S. National Counterintelligence Executive from 2006-2009, told ABC News.

It’s an inescapable irony that the biggest critic of the NSA is currently living in Russia; a country where every detail of your life can be sucked up without a court order and used for any number of purposes.

The NSA requires the permission of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to conduct its business and metadata is in no way comparable to the mountain of data Russian authorities will be sucking up.

More on SORM from Agence France Presse (AFP)

Telecom providers are required to pay for the SORM equipment and its installation, but law enforcement agencies will be able to wiretap without having to show providers court orders allowing the eavesdropping, the analysts said. [...]

Citing research based on documents published by the Russian government procurement agency and other government records, the analysts said the authorities have been installing the surveillance devices in the Black Sea resort of Sochi since 2010. [...]

While many Olympic host countries take steps to monitor communications for security reasons, Russia will take surveillance to a new level, said Soldatov, adding the government will also deploy drones and sonars to detect submarines.

Drones too? Oh my.

Snark aside, there is a cyber-intelligence arms race happening right now as we speak and while some critics of our American counterparts may have good intentions, they would see America unilaterally disarm itself while other nations pull out all the stops to get ahead.

We can do better than them. We can respect the rule of law here at home and match our adversaries overseas.

  • Kitty Smith

    Smell that? That smells like FREEDOM.

  • js hooper

    These are simply heroic hacktivists expressing their political free speech.They have a right to our information and if the Govt. tries to do anything to thwart them…then they are oppressive cyber warriors.

  • KABoink_after_wingnut_hacker

    There’s no money or fame for Glenn Greendrone in pursuing this story.
    Let’s watch how The Guardian sidesteps it.

  • Ned F

    Is there a Russian Hacking Team? Maybe Eric can be their mascot.

  • WiscoJoe

    This sounds like the work of the same people that ‘hacked’ Sharyl Attkisson. I’m sure she’ll finally be releasing her full investigation any second now, so we can finally get to the bottom of this. C’mon, CBS News- we’ve been waiting for the ‘truth’ since June! Please hurry up and dish the dirt before this happens to other reporters.

  • missliberties

    We can do better than them!

    Hello! Thanks Glenn Greenwald. I will breathlessly await for Greenwald’s new editorial about the over reach of Russian data communications. The KGB is spying on your every move. I bet Greenwald doesn’t even mention it.

  • ruth crocker

    I’m enjoying the fact that Snowden put himself in a situation where his worst nightmare has come true: he will never have a private spoken or written communication again.

    • Lady Bug

      True. But somehow I doubt Snowden has any appreciation of the irony of his situation.

  • MrDHalen

    I’m so happy that Snowden is stuck in Russia. I bet he thought he’d be in South America by now hanging with Greenwald. Nope! Considering how paranoid he seems to be, he must be climbing the walls over there. I expect more crazy “Open” letters from him the longer he’s there.

    • mrbrink

      “I expect more crazy “Open” letters from him the longer he’s there.”

      Day 69: Dude, can you believe I made it to Day 69? That’s so rad! I was sure I would have been kidnapped by U.S. spies by now. They want me. They so want me. My state-appointed freedom guardians tell me it’s Tuesday. Looks like Minsk vomited two Mondays. Ron Paul forever!

      Day 199: What day is it? I haven’t seen the sun in three months. But I’ve got my Walther P22 by my side. Bring it on U.S. spies! haHA! Ron Paul forever, and ever!

      Day 232: Okay, this isn’t funny anymore. I’ve had to resort to using toilet paper to record all my memoirs. Sure, it rolls easily, which is why I call it the Dead Pee Scroll, but I’ve had to make some life-altering choices between hygiene and the truth. I picked the wrong week to start a liquid diet. U.S. officials really need to send those U.S. spies to silence me. All privacy and no Ron Paul makes Edward a dull boy. All privacy and no Ron Paul makes Edward a dull boy.

      Day 300: I. Am. Privacy.

  • LTanya Spearman

    Boo hoo, Media who praised Putin over their U.S. president have no water, bad rooms, & hacked computers at the Sochi Olympics.. Excuse me if their no outrage…

  • Jon Fox

    Im sure that Snowden, Greenwald and Wikileaks are just red teaming their articles criticizing Russia for all this…

  • This is why most companies that do business in China or Russia issue their employees “throwaway tech.” The computer or smartphone is pretty much junked on return, and is never allowed access to the internal network. It’s probably only a surprise to the people who believe Snowden is a crusader for “freedom.” Which he now has, although everything he says or does is monitored, but his … hosts.

  • i_a_c

    Posting this again.


    Yet even in the face of this historically disproportionate
    aggression, countries around the world have offered support and asylum.
    These nations, including Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and
    Ecuador have my gratitude and respect for being the first to stand
    against human rights violations carried out by the powerful rather than
    the powerless. By refusing to compromise their principles in the face of
    intimidation, they have earned the respect of the world.
    It is my
    intention to travel to each of these countries to extend my personal
    thanks to their people and leaders.

    epic. simply epic

    • Ned F

      Eric Snowden, International Man of Luggage.
      …..Charles Pierce.