fbpx
Money

The NSA Has Been Tracking Bitcoin Users, Snowden Papers Reveals

Not to be mistaken for another Jason Bourne thriller, the Edward Snowden papers show a US government/bitcoin connection. The Intercept is reporting classified documents leaked by Snowden prove that the US National Security Agency (NSA) in fact was keeping tabs on bitcoin users globally, as evidenced by a report that’s surfaced from March 2013. The timing is curious, with the ink barely dry on an executive order signed by President Trump to ban Americans from transacting with Venezuela’s Petro coin.

In true spy agency style, the report is filled with code names and numbers as well as the cataloging and cross-referencing of data that ultimately helped them to “track down the senders and receivers of bitcoins,” top secret excerpts reveal. The NSA called its bitcoin spying project Oakstar, and the initial focus of the mission was counterterrorism-focused.

It doesn’t appear that the NSA was randomly targeting people. They at least appear to have been monitoring groups that were using the level of anonymity allowed by bitcoin transactions for clandestine purposes, such as money laundering activities. If you’ve ever wondered what a top-secret NSA entry looks like, here’s a glimpse:

“[NSA agent] is hoping to use the access for their mission of looking at organized crime and cyber targets that utilize online e-currency services to move and launder money. These illicit finance networks provide user access to international monetary systems while providing a high degree of anoymity.”

Here’s how it went down. The NSA was seemingly able to use the sophisticated tools available to the US spy agency to collect and analyze internet data, capabilities that were bolstered by let’s call it a super software program that protected the identity of users.

Bitcoin was one of three areas of activity that were being watched, in addition to Liberty Reserve, which has since been shuttered amid money laundering with cryptocurrencies, and one other. Even though bitcoin isn’t the most anonymous cryptocurrency out there, it was the “No. 1 priority” of the NSA.

Network Access

While the blockchain is a public ledger, the NSA didn’t stop there. They apparently gained access to user computer systems, collecting information such as passwords, user sessions and a media access control address. They also seem to have captured personal info such as billing details and IP addresses. The agency was set on uncovering the connection between what they called “bitcoin targets” and the data they had.

As for the timing of the reveal, it could just be a coincidence. But regardless, the more that the government tries to get its grips on the blockchain movement, the more it seems to only embolden the cryptocurrency community to distance themselves further from the centralized financial system.

This story originally appeared in CCN.

Join The Discussion

World Chess Championship in thrilling deadlock
World Chess Championship In Thrilling Deadlock [Video]
Poland Celebrates Independence Centenary
Poland Celebrates Independence Centenary [Video]
Israeli Soldier, 7 Palestinians Killed In Israeli Operation Inside Gaza
Israeli Soldier, 7 Palestinians Killed In Israeli Operation Inside Gaza [Video]
World Leaders Hold Solemn Ceremony In Paris To Mark WW1
World Leaders Hold Solemn Ceremony In Paris To Mark WW1 [Video]
Thai Authorities Arrest Top Suspect In Multi-Million Dollar Bitcoin Fraud
Popular Thai Actor Plead Not Guilty In $24 Million Bitcoin Fraud
Crowdfunding Law With Mark Roderick
Crowdfunding Law With Mark Roderick [Podcast]
Binance CEO Predicts A Bitcoin And Crypto 'Bull Run'
Binance CEO Predicts A Bitcoin And Crypto ‘Bull Run’
Swedish Bitcoin Bomber Convicted Of Attempted Murder
Swedish Bitcoin Bomber Convicted Of Attempted Murder
7 Ways to Use Pinterest to Drive Business Results
7 Ways to Use Pinterest to Drive Business Results [Infographic]
How To Make Chatbots Your Secret Holiday Weapon
How To Make Chatbots Your Secret Holiday Weapon
10 Tips To Decrease Your Website Bounce Rate
10 Tips To Decrease Your Website Bounce Rate [Infographic]
How To Set Your 2019 Social Media Advertising Budget
How To Set Your 2019 Social Media Advertising Budget
Instagram Cashes In On Promote For Stories And Fresh Analytics
Instagram Cashes In On Promote For Stories And Fresh Analytics
WhatsApp's Planning To Roll Out Ads In WhatsApp Status
WhatsApp’s Planning To Roll Out Ads In WhatsApp Status
Pinterest Rolls-Out New Carousel Ad Format
Pinterest Rolls-Out New Carousel Ad Format [Video]
Fall Fashion Trends On Twitter
Fall Fashion Trends On Twitter [Infographic]
Priming Your Brain For Success Through Sleep
Priming Your Brain For Success Through Sleep
What “Bohemian Rhapsody” Teaches Us About Living A Braver, Bolder Life
What “Bohemian Rhapsody” Teaches Us About Living A Braver, Bolder Life
6 Signs You’ve Outgrown Someone In Your Life
6 Signs You’ve Outgrown Someone In Your Life
8 Signs That You Are Stressed And Need Time Out To Re-Evaluate Your Life
8 Signs That You Are Stressed And Need Time Out To Re-Evaluate Your Life!
World Chess Championship in thrilling deadlock
World Chess Championship In Thrilling Deadlock [Video]
World s first AI news anchor unveiled in China
World’s First AI News Anchor Unveiled In China [Video]
Poland Celebrates Independence Centenary
Poland Celebrates Independence Centenary [Video]
Israeli Soldier, 7 Palestinians Killed In Israeli Operation Inside Gaza
Israeli Soldier, 7 Palestinians Killed In Israeli Operation Inside Gaza [Video]