Intrusive GCHQ cyber-technique list leaked in Edward Snowden dispatch

A document apparently leaked from GCHQ in one of Edward Snowden’s dispatches listing the organisation’s cyber tools and techniques has found its way online.

The leak comes as Westminster discusses emergency surveillance legislation

The GC-wiki page dubbed “Top Secret Strap1 Comint” features a list of intrusive techniques developed by GCHQ’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG).

The documents, which were published by First Look Media, show systems used to collect private data, manipulate website traffic, tamper with social networks and even spoof messages from others.

Among the techniques listed is the “Godfather” which gathers “public data from Facebook” and “Goodfella” for “public data collection from Online Social Networks”.

Another intrusive system is “photon torpedo” which can “grab the IP address of an MSN messenger user”.

The agency also has the power to delete accounts on a target’s computer, create fake Facebook wall posts to mislead users, spam individuals in an assortment of ways or even bring down website servers with denial of service attacks.

Alan Woodward, an ex-security consultant for GCHQ, the UK's intelligence agency, told the BBC: "If you read the mission statement of any signals intelligence organisation, all the listed techniques are what you'd expect them to be doing.

"But it's very unhelpful for the details to leak out because as soon as you reveal to people how something is being done they can potentially take steps to avoid their information being collected.

"We've already seen it happen when various forms of interception were revealed previously with the Snowden leaks."

There are tools which can change the outcome of online polls and access images on private Facebook profiles.

It is likely GCHQ altered its operations after the leak of the page which was last updated in 2012. The intelligence agency told First Look Media that all programs were used in full accordance with the law.

The leak comes as Westminster rushes emergency surveillance legislation.

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