GCHQ accused of hacking security software to track users


By John Glenday, Reporter

June 23, 2015 | 1 min read

GCHQ and its American counterpart the NSA are in the dock for alleged spying once more in the latest tranche of Snowden documents to be leaked to the press.

They reportedly show that the spy agency had targeted cybersecurity firms to reverse-engineer consumer anti-virus software (SRE) in order to analyse and exploit it for gathering intelligence on the latest exploits.

A warrant renewal request retrieved amidst the trove of documents read: “Personal security products such as the Russian anti-virus software Kaspersky continue to pose a challenge to GCHQ’s CNE [Computer Network Exploitation] capability, and SRE is essential in order to be able to exploit such software and to prevent detection of our activities.”

One of the firms to be targeted, Kaspersky Lab, said in a statement given to The Intercept: “It is extremely worrying that government organizations would be targeting us instead of focusing resources against legitimate adversaries, and working to subvert security software that is designed to keep us all safe. However, this doesn’t come as a surprise.”

GCHQ reportedly gathers intelligence on 100m malware events every single day.


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