Report: NSA Group ‘TAO’ Has Been Hacking China For 15 Years

by
Fatimah Mazhar
National Security Agency’s name ought to be changed to National ‘Secrets’ Agency since it had been (and maybe still is) hiding a lot of information.

Report: NSA Group ‘TAO’ Has Been Hacking China For 15 Years

National Security Agency’s name ought to be changed to National ‘Secrets’ Agency since it had been (and maybe still is) hiding a lot of information.

Following the revelation that NSA used a data-mining program, codenamed PRISM, to conduct warrantless surveillance on American citizens, existence of another secret intelligence gathering tool ‘Boundless Informant’ emerged which made ripples in the news due to itsglobal surveillance orespionage characteristics.

And now, amid all the chaos generated after the exposé, yet another secret program, run by the NSA, has been revealed. According to Matthew M. Aid from Foreign Policy, within the NSA, there is an ‘elite’ group of hackers and spies targeting enemies abroad.

The claim is as serious as it sounds. The world of international news is rife with reports and claims regarding China hacking into U.S. intelligence agencies and news organizations. Just this year in January, the New York Times claimed that ‘hackers from China had "persistently" infiltrated the paper for four months. Though China's foreign ministry dismissed the accusations as "groundless", the accusations were widely reported.

China’s “aggressive” hacking had also been discussed by National Security Advisor Tom Donilon in March. And another claim emerged last month when it was reported major U.S. Defense systems had been infiltrated by Chinese hackers. A top Chinese official shot back at Washington claiming China had ample amount of data to prove that the U.S. had been engaged in massive hacking as well.

Turns out the claims made by the top Chinese official were true. At least that’s what has been revealed by Foreign Policy which states:

“..a highly secretive unit of the National Security Agency (NSA), the U.S. government's huge electronic eavesdropping organization, called the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, has successfully penetrated Chinese computer and telecommunications systems for almost 15 years, generating some of the best and most reliable intelligence information about what is going on inside the People's Republic of China.”

The NSA even has a technical term for carrying out this “sort” of hacking. It’s known as computer network exploitation (CNE).

If this report turns out to be true, then not just the Obama administration but also the previous U.S. governments have a lot to explain and clarify to a lot of people. 

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