ExpressVPN and NSA’s Turbine Hacking Engine

New documents released by Edward Snowden talk about the NSA’s automated hacking system. Codenamed Turbine, this hacking engine has the ability to increase NSA targets to millions of networks at the touch of a button. It can also inject malware that cracks digital communication and VPN security.


Turbine is part of a set of NSA tools created specifically for invasive mass surveillance. It works side by side with Turmoil, the network surveillance system that the XKeyScore database draws from. Turbine can automatically gather data on thousands of networks, but can be dialed up to spy on millions of networks. Turbine is operated from both the NSA and GCHQ head offices. But it runs packaged exploits that are distributed from the tool’s array of attack systems. It is supported by the two agencies’ capabilities for intercepting data through man-in-the-middle attacks. As part of the collective tools named Turbulence, Turbine automates Turbulence tasks to intercept and alter data being sent and received, sometimes through malware.

Turbine can also be boosted to crack the encryption used for digital communication and VPNs. This is only done for networks that house massive amounts of data. And it is reserved for special targets where surveillance is prioritized. The NSA has broken some encryption, but OpenVPN remains safe. They cannot succeed with injected malware in OpenVPN because it is constantly monitored and cleaned. So using OpenVPN providers like ExpressVPN is still safe. Older protocols like PPTP and pure L2TP, however, are no longer secure.


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