LONDON- A German magazine has lifted the lid on the operations of the National Security Agency's hacker unit, revealing how American spies intercepted computer deliveries, exploited hardware vulnerabilities, and even hijacked Microsoft's internal reporting system to spy on their targets.
Der Spiegel's revelations relate to a division of the NSA known as Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, which is painted as an elite team of hackers specializing in stealing data from the toughest of targets.
Citing internal NSA documents, the magazine said Sunday that TAO's mission was "Getting the ungettable," and quoted an official as saying that TAO had won "some of the most significant intelligence our country has ever seen."
Der Spiegel did not explicitly say where its cache of NSA documents had come from, although the magazine has previously published a series of stories based on documents leaked by former intelligence worker Edward Snowden, and one of Snowden's key contacts -- American documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras -- was listed among the article's six authors.
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