Menu
Report: NSA breaks into Yahoo, Google data center links

Report: NSA breaks into Yahoo, Google data center links

A tool known as MUSCULAR lets the agency copy data flows across fiber-optic cables, The Washington Post reports

The U.S. National Security Agency has penetrated the main communication links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, giving it access to the accounts of hundreds of millions of people including U.S. residents, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

By tapping the links, the agency is able to collect at will a wide range of content such as metadata -- indicating the recipients of emails and when the messages were sent -- as well as actual content like text, audio and video, according to the report.

The NSA does not store all of the content permanently, but it keeps a lot, the newspaper reported, based on documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden as well as interviews with what the Post called "knowledgeable" officials.

Through the program, millions of records are sent every day from Yahoo and Google's internal networks to data warehouses at the NSA's headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, the report said. In the past 30 days alone, more than 181 million records containing various data had been processed by field collectors, according to the report.

The data links are exploited using a tool called MUSCULAR, which is operated in partnership with the NSA's British counterpart, GCHQ, the Post reported. Together, the NSA and HCHQ can copy entire data flows across fiber-optic cables carrying information between Yahoo and Google data centers, the report said.

The interception points were not disclosed.

The revelation constitutes the latest in a series of high-profile leaks of information about U.S. surveillance programs since the Post and the Guardian newspaper first reported the existence of a program known as Prism in June. That program allows the NSA to access data stored within the servers at major Internet companies like Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Subscribe here for up-to-date channel news

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags The Washington PostInternet-based applications and servicesNational Security Agencysecuritysocial networkingsocial mediainternetsearch enginesprivacy

Featured

Slideshows

StorageCraft celebrates high achievers at its inaugural A/NZ Partner Awards

StorageCraft celebrates high achievers at its inaugural A/NZ Partner Awards

Revealed at a glitzy bash in Sydney at the Ivy Penthouse, the first StorageCraft Partner Awards locally saw the vendor honour its top-performing partners with ASI Solutions, SMBiT Pro, Webroot, ACA Pacific and Soft Solutions New Zealand taking home the top awards. Photos by Maria Stefina.

StorageCraft celebrates high achievers at its inaugural A/NZ Partner Awards
Kiwi resellers make a splash on Synnex and Lenovo RotoVegas road trip

Kiwi resellers make a splash on Synnex and Lenovo RotoVegas road trip

​Synnex and Lenovo hosted 18 resellers for an action-packed weekend adventure in RotoVegas, taking in white water rafting on the Kaituna River, as well as quad biking and dinner at Stratosfare​, overlooking Lake Rotorua at the top of Mount Ngongotaha​. Photos by Synnex.

Kiwi resellers make a splash on Synnex and Lenovo RotoVegas road trip
Show Comments