NSA's top TAO hacking unit revealed!

Berlin, Dec. 30 : The US National Security Agency's Tailored Access Operations (TAO) top hacking unit reportedly maintains its own covert network, exploits computers around the world and even intercepts shipping deliveries to plan back doors in electronics of suspects.

The NSA's TAO hacking unit was revealed after an incidence of jammed garage doors of numerous homeowners in San Antonio, Texas, back in January 2010.

Despite attempts to open their garage doors, the residents were unable to do so and the problem laid with the US' spy agency NSA's radio antennas, which was broadcasting at the same frequency as the garage door openers, Der Speigel reports.

It was then noted the extent to which NSA's work encroached on people's daily lives as the agency has maintained a branch with 2,000 employees at Lackland Air Force Base, also in San Antonio.

In 2005, the agency took over a former Sony computer chip plant in the western part of the city, which was part of a massive expansion the agency began after 9/11.

According to the report, one of the two main buildings at the former plant has since housed a sophisticated NSA unit, one that has benefited the most from this expansion and has grown the fastest in recent years, the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, is the agency's top operative unit.

The TAO is like a squad of on-call digital plumbers that can be called in when normal access to a target is blocked and these are involved in many sensitive operations conducted by the US spy agencies.

The unit's area of operations ranges from counterterrorism to cyber attacks to traditional espionage.

An ex-TAO chief said that her unit contributed some of the most significant intelligence the country has ever seen as it has access to their very hardest targets.

The report added that the TAO unit is born of the Internet, created in 1997, a time when not even 2 percent of the world's population had Internet access and no one had yet thought of Facebook, YouTube or Twitter.

--ANI (Posted on 30-12-2013)

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