NSA infiltrated more than 100,000 offline computers using covert devices, says leaks
The intelligence agency reportedly inserted radio-transmitters into computers via spies and unwitting users to crack disconnected devices
America’s National Security Agency (NSA) has been using secret technology to “enter and alter data in computers” even when they are not connected to the internet, according to reports from the New York Times.
Documents given to the paper by whistleblower and ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden say that intelligence agency has infiltrated more than 100,000 computers worldwide by fitting them with covert devices.
These devices can take the form of tiny circuit boards or USB sticks and are inserted into computers either by spies, manufactures or unwitting users. They can then transmit information back and forth with nearby brief-case sized relay stations.
The method is significant as it allows the NSA to circumvent one of the most effective methods used to secure computers against spying and cyberattack: simply disconnecting them from the internet.
The New York Times reports that there is “no evidence” that the technology has been used within the USA, and that these operations act as an “active defence” against foreign cyber threats such as the Chinese.
The program – code-named Quantum – has also been used against “Russian military networks and systems used by the Mexican police and drug cartels, trade institutions inside the European Union, and sometime partners against terrorism like Saudi Arabia, India and Pakistan.”
An anonymous senior official from the US Cyber Command told the paper that these devices were used as an early warning system for cyberattacks, comparing the program with submarine warfare and saying the US tries “to silently track the adversaries while they’re trying to silently track you.”
Meanwhile, President Obama will announce this Friday which recommendations he will be accepting from an advisory panel investigating the methods of the NSA.
The Times report that restrictions on the collection of bulk telephone data will be included in the briefing, and that it is also being recommended that the exploitation of flaws in American software should be banned except in extreme cases.
Life & Style blogs
Dame Vivienne Westwood: The former Queen of Punk may now be an establishment pillar, but her work is still controversial – and much copied
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?
Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
Coke milk? Coca-Cola to launch premium milk brand called Fairlife
Pirelli calendar 2015: First plus-size model Candice Huffine is featured alongside Adriana Lima and Natalia Vodianova in a fetish-themed shoot
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
- 1 'Kidnapped boy may have been abused and murdered by VIP paedophile ring,' say police
- 2 Ridley Scott on Exodus: Gods and Kings casting: 'I'm not going to get it financed if my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such'
- 3 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 4 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 5 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst - Insurance ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This consulting firm are searching for an Adva...
£20000 - £26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Desktop Support Analyst - Sutton, Su...
£15k - 18k per year + Benefits & OTE: Opilio Recruitment: Digital Media, Mob...