NSA/GCHQ: The HACIENDA Program for Internet Colonization

Since the early days of TCP, port scanning has been used by computer saboteurs to locate vulnerable systems. In a new set of top secret documents seen by Heise, it is revealed that in 2009, the British spy agency GCHQ made port scans a "standard tool" to be applied against entire nations (Figure 1, see the picture gallery). Twenty-seven countries are listed as targets of the HACIENDA program in the presentation (Figure 2), which comes with a promotional offer: readers desiring to do reconnaissance against another country need simply send an e-mail (Figure 3).

The HACIENDA Program
The documents do not spell out details for a review process or the need to justify such an action. It should also be noted that the ability to port-scan an entire country is hardly wild fantasy; in 2013, a port scanner called Zmap was implemented that can scan the entire IPv4 address space in less than one hour using a single PC. [3] The massive use of this technology can thus make any server anywhere, large or small, a target for criminal state computer saboteurs...

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