Hacking like the NSA isn’t that hard.
Around Christmas in 2013, a German newsmagazine published a large cache of leaked NSA files, detailing several spy tools used by the NSA.
The leaked documents were dubbed ANT (Advanced Network Techniques) Catalog, and showed that the US spy agency had a wide array of tools to spy on people's computers and, as they put it, get the "ungettable." The tools ranged from a set of fake cellular base stations that hijack phone calls, a USB plug to steal data as soon as it's connected to a computer, and "radio frequency reflectors," devices that beam radio signals to other devices, forcing them to beam data back.
The dump motivated a group of hardware hackers in the US to team up and try to recreate and open-source the tools on their own. And they did, successfully mimicking the NSA's spy tools in their lab.
As part of VICELAND's first season of CYBERWAR, we met with one of the security researchers who worked on what him and his friends called the NSA Playset. Joe Fitzpatrick showed us how to use SLOTSCREAMER to bypass a laptop's lockscreen and hack into it, inspired by the NSA's catalog. Check out the deleted scene above to learn about SLOTSCREAMER and check out the archive of CYBERWAR's episodes on VICELAND.com.
This post has been updated to clarify that SLOTSCREAMER isn't specifically an NSA tool but a tool inspired by the NSA's ANT catalog.