Snowden revealed intelligence activities of Canadians spies

Pierluigi Paganini January 30, 2015

New documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed the monitoring activities run by the Canadian Intelligence agency, the Communications Security Establishment

Edward Snowden seems to be a bottomless pit, month after month his revelations are shocking the IT security community. Surveillance, hacking, cyber espionage, these are the main activities carried out by the NSA and its allies who could count on high technology and surprise.

The last documents publicly disclosed by the popular whistleblower are related to activities conducted by the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), the Canadian government’s national cryptologic agency.

The Intercept has published a couple of reports detailed operations run by Canadians spies. In a first one report is described the information gathering managed by Canadian agents in partnership with British colleagues, the spies have been collecting sensitive data by exfiltrating data from smartphone users all around the world.

“British and Canadian spy agencies accumulated sensitive data on smartphone users, including location, app preferences, and unique device identifiers, by piggybacking on ubiquitous software from advertising and analytics companies, according to a document obtained by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.” states the The Intercept.
The report explains that the two intelligence agencies were collecting location information, device data, IP addresses and other data under a program dubbed BADASS. The agents used software filters to collect information from unencrypted internet traffic, sent by the mobile devices and the apps installed on them, to servers run by advertising and analytics companies.
snowden leaked docs badass

The spies used the data acquired from the mobile device to discover the identity of users, track their profile and their location at every time. The overall information collected by the agents on each person of interest could be used for further targeted attacks.

A second report disclosed by The Intercept has revealed that the Canadian Intelligence is tapping Internet cables to analyze HTTP metadata related to uploads and downloads to and from 102 popular file-sharing websites. including RapidShare, SendSpace, and MegaUpload (the

RapidShare, SendSpace, and MegaUpload are some of the platforms monitored by the Intelligence under a program codenamed the LEVITATION project. The cyberspies monitored about 10 to 15 million “free file upload” events per day, and the documents revealed that the Canadian Agency has identified some 350 “interesting” downloads each month.

“Canada’s leading surveillance agency is monitoring millions of Internet users’ file downloads in a dragnet search to identify extremists, according to top-secret documents. The covert operation, revealed Wednesday by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept, taps into Internet cables and analyzes records of up to 15 million downloads daily from popular websites commonly used to share videos, photographs, music, and other files. ” reports the Intercept.

snowden leaked docs Canadian Intelligence

The LEVITATION program was extended to numerous countries worldwide, the agents were able to monitor downloads in Europe, Middle East, North Africa, and North America. It is important to highlight that some of the file-sharing services have introduced encryption to protect their users, but anyway numerous service still hasn’t implemented it.

Let’s see what other surprises in store for us Snowden.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Intelligence, Snowden)

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