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Fantástico | Petrobras and the NSA


Source: G1 | Availible in English

Topic: Globo’s Sunday prime-time infotainment program Fantástico floods the airwaves with an exclusive on purported American spying on the state-owned Petrobras.

The operative term here is “purported,” and that by a single source, Snowden. Not to question Snowden, but Globo is not exactly a world-champion of deep-background investigations or semantic clarity.

A fresh levy of classified documents that leaked from the NSA, obtained exclusively by Fantástico, show that Petrobras, the world’s fourth-largest oil company, was also spied upon.

The report aired on Sunday, September 8 and found that the private network of the state-owned Petrobras was invaded by the NSA — an accusation that contradicts the agency’s official position, reported by the Washington Post, in which it states it does not practice economic espionage of any type, including digital espionage.

Data on Petrobras is found in the documents leaked by Edward Snowden, an outsourced intelligence analyst for the NSA, who made public these and thousands of other files last June. Journalist Glenn Greenwald received the papers from Snowden.

Petrobras had no comment on the case. The NSA denies practicing espionage to steal secrets from foreign companies.

The Devil and the Details

Last week — above — Fantástico was already reporting that president Dilma Rousseff and her principal advisors were direct targets of NSA spying.

Now, [we bring you] freshly discovered  document in a presentation classified as “Ultrasecret” and produced in May 2012 in order to teach new recruits how to spy on private networks — the intranets  of companies, governments and financial institutions which exist for the very purpose of protecting information.

Petrobras, Brazil’s largest company, is mentioned at the beginning of the document displayed by Fantástico, with the title “Many targets use private networks.”

There is no information on the extent of the espionage, nor whether the agency gained access to the contents of the Petrobras computers.

How very Globo: It builds up narrative expectations and then, in a paragraph buried in the text, admits it has no solid information on which to base an accusation or alleged fact.

What is known is that Petrobras was the target of espionage,, but there is no information on the files the NSA was searching for.

It was used as a didactic example in Hacking and Cracking 101, clearly, but perhaps it was just sniffing for vulnerabilitie?

This type of information is published only after the so-called Five Eyes — an intel partnership among the U.S., U.K.,  Australia, Canada and New Zealand — agree. .

Petrobras appears on a number of slides.

Has anyone uploaded the PPT file?

Along with the oil company, the NSA training document identifies Google [as a potential target] … Google, once accused of collaboration with the NSA, now appears as a victim.

The private networks of the foreign relations ministry of France and SWIFT — Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Transactions, a coop with 10,000 member banks in 220 countries, were also analyzed. Any and all remittances that cross national borders have to be vetted by SWIFT.

Names of other companies and institutions subject to espionage were erased in order not to compromise antiterrorist operations, according to Fantástico.

Each target is represented by a folder that contains all of the communications intercepted and their IP addresses — which ought to be immune to this type of intrusion.

Greenwald says these documents contain nformation on national security and never should have been published, which is why he blacked out certain names. “There is no doubt that the U.S., like other nations, has the right to conduct espionage to guarantee national security. But there is much more information about the espionage of innocent parties — people having nothing to do with terror or industrial issues,”he explains.

Espionage May Have Been Long Term

[translation continues]

Paulo Pagliusi, a Ph.D. in computer security doutor and author of a book on the subject, all of the private networks presented in the NSA slide show are real. These are not fictional cases.

“There are certain aspects that call attention,” he said. “For example, some numbers were blacked out because it would only be revealed if this were a real case and they did not trust students with this information.  Again according to Pagliusi, this information could have been obtained over time, using a “highly effective” network that is “extremely powerful.”.

According to Fantástico, Petrobras grosses R$ 280 mi8llion per year, more than the tax base of many foreign nations. The state-owned Brazilian oil company also has two supercomputers used for the so-called seismic surveys, used to assess oil reserves …With this technology the company was able to map the pre-salt reserves, the largest oil discovery in recent years.

The company’s private network also contains strategic nformation in connection with negotiations worth billlions. For example, defined details of every lot assigned for the October auction for the exploration of Campo de Libra, in the Santos Basin, a pre-salt exploration environment.

Roberto Villa, and ex-diretor of Petrobras, the Libra auction is the largest in the history of the petroleum industry. “It is an auction involving an area where we already know there is oil, there is no risk. [If this information leaked], however, someone would take advantage. If this information leaked and someone exploited the leak, that someone would perform much better in the auction. …” explains Villa.

To Antônio Menezes, another Petrobras ex-diretor, the possible leaking of information on the pre-salt deposits is a serious matter and affects the global market. “In commercial terms, the international effect of this scenario is a competition in which some players are playing with marked cards.”

Questioned about confidential information that Petrobras may have discovered was the object of espionage, Adriano Pires, an infrastructure expert, said that if he were a spy, he would try to penetrate the networks directly connected to the drilling rigs.

“Petrobras is the No. 1 deepwater oil exploration corporation in the world, and the pre-salt exists in many parts of that world: Africa, the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea. So if I can obtain this technology I can pull oil out of the pré-salt wherever I want,” the expert said.

How it works

Along with the NSA presentation there are documents prepared by the British espionage agency, an intelligence ally of the U.S.

Records kept by the Englsh demonstrate the use of two software fools: “Flying Pig” and “Hush Puppy”, which monitor private networks based on a protocol known as  TLS/SSL

TLS/SSL networks use the same standard to conduct financial transactions as well, as when, for example, you need to use an ATM to withdraw cash. The connection between the remote location and the banking center passes through a kind of virtual tunnel as it traverses the Internet. No one can obtain access to messages using this protocol.

The NSA presentation also explains how to intercept data. It says that espionage is carried out by a network attack known as  “man in the middle.” In this case, the data are diverted to NSA headquarters and then delived to the addressee, who does not realize he or she is under surveillance.

The Snowden documents also list the results obtained from espionate efforts. According to Fantástico, NSA cyberespionage extracted data from foreign government networks, airlines, energy companies, Petrobras, and financial institutions.

The NSA also shows in detail how data from a “target” are diverted, passing through filters that beam the intelligence directly to the NSA.

In one of the records divulged by Snowden and obtained by Fantástico, the NSA  says that Latin America is a key target of a program called  “Silverzephyr,” which records metadata and all the information that flows back and forth on the Internet, as well as the content of voice and fax communications.

Dilma Demands Explanation From Obama

No último domingo (1º), o Fantástico mostrou como a presidente do Brasil foi alvo direto de espionagem (veja vídeo ao lado). Na última quinta-feira (5), Dilma se reuniu com o líder político norte-americano, Barack Obama, durante o encontro dos 20 países mais desenvolvidos do mundo (o G-20), na Rússia, e cobrou explicações.

“O que eu pedi é o seguinte: eu acho muito complicado ficar sabendo dessas coisas pelo jornal. Eu quero saber o que há. Se tem ou não tem, eu quero saber. Tem ou não tem? Além do que foi publicado pela imprensa, eu quero saber tudo que há em relação ao Brasil. Tudo. Tudinho. Em inglês, everything”, disse Dilma a jornalistas.

Na última sexta-feira (6), Dilma afirmou que Obama se comprometeu a dar explicações sobre as denúncias de espionagem dos EUA até a próxima quarta-feira (11).

“O presidente Obama declarou para mim que assumia a responsabilidade direta e pessoal pelo integral esclarecimento dos fatos e que proporia para exame do Brasil medidas para sanar o problema. Diante do meu ceticismo devido à falta de resultados do encontro entre o ministro da Justiça, José Eduardo Cardozo, e o vice-presidente [Joe] Biden, ocorrido semana passada, o presidente Obama me reiterou que ele assumia a responsabilidade direta e pessoal tanto para a apuração das denúncias como para oferecer as medidas que o governo brasileiro considerasse adequadas”, declarou a presidente na Rússia.

Dilma afirmou ter dito a Obama que a questão não era de “desculpas”, mas de uma solução rápida. Segundo ela, estabeleceu-se a próxima quarta-feira como prazo para uma resposta. “Como eu disse que esse processo era um processo lento, que não queria esclarecimentos técnicos, nao era só uma questão de desculpas,era uma questão de não admissão desse nível de intrusão, e que era importante que fosse solucionado com rapidez, chegou-se a uma data, quarta-feira”, afirmou Dilma.

Quebra de criptografia

A reportagem do Fantástico mostra ainda que no dia em que a presidente e Obama se encontraram, reportagem publicada simultaneamente por dois grandes jornais – o inglês “The Guardian” e o americano “The New York Times” — , revelou que a NSA e a GCHQ inglesa quebram os códigos de comunicações protegidas de diversos provedores de internet, podendo assim espionar as comunicações e transações bancárias de milhões de pessoas.

O texto mostrou que a criptografia, o sistema de códigos que é fornecido por algumas operadoras de internet, já vem com uma vulnerabilidade, inserida propositalmente pela NSA, e que permite que os espiões entrem no sistema e até façam alterações, sem deixar rastros.

Há também sinais de que alguns equipamentos de computação montados nos EUA já saem de fábrica com dispositivos de espionagem instalados. O “New York Times” diz que isso foi feito com pelo menos um governo estrangeiro que comprou computadores norte-americanos. Mas não revela qual governo pagou por equipamentos para ser espionado.

Outro lado

A NSA enviou nota afirmando que não usa sua capacidade de espionagem para roubar segredos de empresas estrangeiras. Questionada pelo Fantástico sobre o motivo de ter espionado a Petrobras, a agência norte-americana informou que isso é tudo o que tem a dizer no momento.

Após a exibição da reportagem no Fantástico, uma segunda nota de imprensa, desta vez assinada pelo diretor nacional de inteligência dos Estados Unidos, James Clapper, foi enviada pela Agência de Segurança Nacional.

O órgão do governo americano alega coletar informações econômicas e financeiras para prevenir crises que possam afetar os mercados internacionais.

No entanto, reafirmou que não rouba segredos de empresas de fora dos EUA que possam beneficiar companhias americanas. A Embaixada Britânica em Brasília e o Ministério das Relações Exteriores do Reino Unido informaram que não comentam assuntos de inteligência.