The NSA Uses Google Cookies For Hacking: The National Security Agency is using the tracking data intended for Google’s advertisers to locate its targets.
According to the Washington Post’s new analysis of an internal presentation Edward Snowden leaked earlier in the year, the NSA has been using the numeric identifiers in Google’s “PREF” cookies for hacking.
A cookie is a small piece of data sent from a website that is stored in a user’s browser. In addition to customizing browsing experiences on some sites, advertisers use them to target ads for specific audiences.
Google’s PREF cookie, short for “preferences,” contains information related to the user’s location and language.
The NSA, as well as its British counterpart GCHQ, used the numeric identifiers contained within these cookies to pinpoint their intended targets’ communications in a sea of data. The tactic is not used to determine possible people of interest, but is similar to placing a laser beam on the target of a missile strike.
The strike in this case refers to sending software to a computer in order to hack it and gain access to information.
In addition, the NSA has accessed information collected from mobile apps.