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Appelbaum timed his talk to come out at the same time as a Der Spiegel article detailing the discovery of an NSA group called TAO, which helps the agency spy on citizens' private computers — even intercepting computer deliveries to add backdoors to targeted people's machines. Working with the German news magazine, Appelbaum carefully explains what he found and how it affects ordinary people around the world.
The NSA's TAO hacking unit is considered to be the intelligence agency's top secret weapon. It maintains its own covert network, infiltrates computers around the world and even intercepts shipping deliveries to plant back doors in electronics ordered by those it is targeting.
The developers of the FreeBSD operating system say they no longer trust computer processor chips manufactured by two of the top tech companies — and cite National Security Agency secrets spilled by former contractor Edward Snowden as the reason why.
“Relying solely on the hardware random number generator which is using an implementation sealed inside a chip which is impossible to audit is a BAD idea,” Ts’o said. Now just three months later, FreeBSD is rescinding their reliance on Intel and Via’s RNGs.