Wired‘s Kim Zetter on how the NSA recommends its own analysts get the best intelligence use out of Google and other online tools:
There’s so much data available on the internet that even government cyberspies need a little help now and then to sift through it all. So to assist them, the National Security Agency produced a book to help its spies uncover intelligence hiding on the web.
The 643-page tome, called Untangling the Web: A Guide to Internet Research (.pdf), was just released by the NSA following a FOIA request filed in April by MuckRock, a site that charges fees to process public records for activists and others.
The book was published by the Center for Digital Content of the National Security Agency, and is filled with advice for using search engines, the Internet Archive and other online tools. But the most interesting is the chapter titled “Google Hacking.”
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Stealing intelligence on the internet that others don’t want you to have might not be illegal, but it does come with other risks, the authors note: “It is critical that you handle all Microsoft file types on the internet with extreme care. Never open a Microsoft file type on the internet. Instead, use one of the techniques described here,” they write in a footnote. The word “here” is hyperlinked, but since the document is a PDF the link is inaccessible. No word about the dangers that Adobe PDFs pose. But the version of the manual the NSA released was last updated in 2007, so let’s hope later versions cover it.