Edward Snowden, the whistleblower, is of the belief that, in all probability, Russia is responsible for the alleged US National Security Agency (NSA) hack.

Hackers allegedly got hold of digital arsenal or malware deployed by Equation Group, the cyber espionage unit that has links with the NSA.

Hackers who called themselves Shadow Brokers put up the leaks, which consisted of exploits and malware widely-used firewalls from manufacturers such as Cisco, Fortinet, Juniper, and TopSec, for an auction.

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden took to Twitter to substantiate his theory.

Edward Snowden, who is in exile in an undisclosed location in Russia, started sending a series of tweets by saying that NSA’s malware staging server had been hacked earlier on as well, but the take has been published for the first time now.

Kaspersky, a security firm, said that the original files are likely from the Equation Group with links to the NSA.

According to Dave Aitel, a former NSA employee who also pointed out that Russia might be involved; this could be a diplomatic move in the wake of blaming Russia for hacking the US Democratic Party’s computers.


In a tweet, Edward Snowden said that the leak is most likely a warning that someone would be able to prove the US responsible for attacks originating from this malware server.

Meanwhile, an analysis released by Kaspersky pointed out that it believes with a great degree of certainty that the tools obtained by Shadow Brokers are related to Equation Group’s malware.

This is because the sample elements that those hackers released for the purpose of verification displayed Equation’s unique characteristics.

On their part, Shadow Brokers are organizing an auction to dispose off the key for the remaining data, which according to them is encrypted.

Wikileaks, the whistleblowing website, has also said that it is in possession of the same data and that it will release it in due course.

However, the hackers have suggested that the Wikileaks’ claim may not be true. When asked as to why anyone should trust them, the hackers said that the risk would be higher if there is no trust.

They also noted that people have to take the risk if they like the reward, but there are no guarantees as they could win or lose.

Mr. Aitel listed out the reasons as to why he was almost certain as regards the link between the malware leak and hacking of the computer of the US Democratic Party, which led to the resignation of a few senior leaders of the party in one of the blog posts published by him.

They included the auction’s timing as it is being done nearly three years after the information was stolen, experts opined.

According to him, high-level officials in the political field in the US were upset about the Democratic Party hacks.

In a post published recently, he noted that only those who are experts in the field of operational security or those who are desirous of taking advantage of the bugs would ever keep quiet about something big like this for a long time.

Edward Snowden explained through his tweets that security services commonly attempted to target the hacking tools of each other in order to create “fingerprints” which would help them detect the same in the future.

He also noted that no one knows as to why they did it, but his suspicion is that this has to do more with diplomacy than intelligence and is linked to the escalation of the DNC hack.

Edward Snowden, who suggested that the leak could be a warning sign, also added that the NSA leak could have significant consequences as far as foreign policy matters are concerned, particularly if the operations targeted any of the US allies and elections.

In addition, the NSA hack might be a ploy to influence the calculations of decision makers who are wondering as to how they should respond to the DNC hacks.

According to Edward Snowden, the leak appeared as though somebody is sending a message that the attribution game could get messy very fast.

The comments of Edward Snowden however should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Source : darkwebnews

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Google officially launched its widely anticipated messaging app, Allo, last September.

The App is poised to become a major competitor of the popular WhatsApp and iMessage.

However, former NSA contractor and whistleblower, Edward Snowden has informed smartphone users to avoid the app due to a number of privacy concerns.

Edward Snowden strongly feels that the smart messaging app could be a honeypot for government surveillance efforts.

It is important to note that Edward Snowden is not the only that holds the same opinion on Google’s new app.

In order to understand the basis of Snowden’s sentiments, one has to understand the nuances of the messaging app.

What is Allo

Google Allo is an instant smart messaging mobile phone app designed for Android and iOS platforms.

The app was announced in May this year at Google I/O developer conference.

As promised, Google launched the app officially on the 21st September.


Among the main features of the app include a virtual assistant and the “smart reply” feature.

The smart reply function was developed to facilitate the delivery of fast conversations.

Through artificial intelligence and complex algorithms, the app is able to recognize and analyze the user’s responses.

It collects and stores this data over time and utilizing it to guess users’ responses which it then suggests.

This data may also be kept for formulation of personalized ads. As such, it is possible to use the app without even typing.

The problem with the app and that which Edward Snowden and others are worried about is this collection of user data.

Google also has a part in fueling these sentiments about their messaging app.

When the company first announced the messaging app in May, they assured users that the app’s “Incognito Mode” should cause no worries about privacy concerns.

At the time, Google stated that Allo employs high-end encryption and the messages users send and receive would be stored transiently, rather than permanently.

However, last September’s announcement was different and revealed that the default mode of the app would result in indefinite storage of user messages.

This issue does not sit well with Edward Snowden and many other smartphone users.

It does raise some questions about Google’s promise to delete user messages. Compounding the situation is the fact that Google failed to formally announce this critical change.

The Main Basis of Edward Snowden’s Fears

As it currently stands, Allo users who fail to switch to Incognito Mode bear the risk of having their messages retained.

This could potentially provide fresh farming grounds for government surveillance, something that Edward Snowden is all too familiar with.

As with most chat apps, Allo uses HTTPS as a means to secure transmission between devices.

What this means is the data is safe from most hackers.

However, it is not safe from people with respective clearance to Google’s data centers.

Government agencies can also access this information using a subpoena.

Edward Snowden has always pointed out that subpoenas are not that hard to get.

The United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approves almost all subpoenas requested by the FBI and NSA.

When Allo is compared to WhatsApp in terms of user privacy, the latter comes out on top.

Conversations in WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted,, and government agencies cannot access them even upon request.

What Allo Users Can Do

Individuals who still want to use Google’s Allo despite Edward Snowden’s warnings can do so privately and securely by learning about the Incognito Mode. VPNs can also help.

In this mode, users will not be able to preview their message in the conversation list.

Also, the chats are end-to-end encrypted and will only be seen by the sender and recipient.

Google will not be able to read any of the messages, so the smart replay and Google assistant features are unavailable in Incognito Mode. Users can set their messages to expire.

Edward Snowden’s views are definitely founded on a considerable basis.

As such, the decision of smartphone users to adopt Google’s messaging app boils down to choice.

They will have to choose between limited compromise to their privacy and improved app usability.

Source : darkwebnews

Categorized in Search Engine
A little known fact about Edward Snowden: he was helped by refugees while hiding out in Hong Kong. After he fled the US, at least four asylum seekers – all clients of his Hong Kong lawyers – took the NSA whistleblower into their homes.

This was all in the early stages of the saga that unfolded when Snowden released highly classified information to the public, exposing the secretive US agency’s worldwide spying program in June 2013. The families have now chosen to break their silence and tell the riveting story of how they helped hide “the most wanted man in the world,” as Vanessa Mae Bondalian Rodel, a 42-year-old Filipino woman, told the New York Times.

Rodel and her one-year-old daughter’s tiny apartment would become Snowden’s hideout as he was pursued internationally.

During the two weeks spent in Hong Kong, he would change addresses three times, all in the poor, run-down area of Kowloon Walled City, where tiny apartments are stacked atop each other, government control does not extend, and life is completely self-contained. In other words, it is the perfect hiding place.

Snowden’s lawyer Robert Tibbo says his refugee clients now hope the story will generate enough publicity for the Hong Kong government to take action on their cases. They are part of a group of 11,000 foreigners cooped up in a city that historically stood in legal limbo between Chinese and British control. And so it is with them, as they await their asylum applications to be issued by the Chinese government.

“These were people who went through the same process when they were fleeing other countries,” Tibbo told NYT. Snowden believed they would understand his plight, and that is why he turned to them for help. He was also not on the Hong Kong Police wanted list at the time.

“My first impression of his face was that he was scared, very worried,”Rodel remembers.

Snowden took her room, while she and her daughter took the only other space in the apartment. Sitting night and day at his computer, he could never go out. Internet access was improvised from a mobile device, as no network existed.

On the second day of his stay, Rodel accidentally discovered the true grandeur of Snowden’s persona. This was after he asked if she could buy him a copy of the South China Morning Post, an English-language paper.

“Oh my God, unbelievable,” she remembers thinking. “The most wanted man in the world is in my house.” 

Tibbo says that he and Snowden quickly rejected the idea of staying in a warehouse, or the United Nations Refugee Processing Center.

Over the next two weeks, he would spend one night in the apartment of Ajith Pushpakumara, 44, who had fled his native Sri Lanka after being tortured for desertion. Like Rodel, a person with a story similar to Snowden’s identified with the American.

“I was worried about him,” he said.

Supun Thilina Kellapatha, with his wife and baby, also took Snowden in for three days.

They all remember Snowden as tired and frightened, but extremely polite and respectful.

Before he left their home, he left the family $200 under a pillow. They said that they used the money to buy necessities for their daughter and would remember Snowden forever. The wife, Nadeeka Dilrukshi Nonis, said, “Sometimes I tell Supun, maybe he forgot us… I want to tell him, ‘Edward, how are you? We will never forget you.’” 

Edward Snowden’s supporters are now working to raise money to help the Kowloon asylum-seekers who showed so much concern for Snowden’s plight and graciously accepted him into their homes.


It was after his stay in Hong Kong that the NSA whistleblower was granted asylum in Russia, where he currently resides.

Source : https://www.rt.com/news/358667-snowden-refugee-nsa-hong/

Categorized in Others

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