NSA has hidden software in hard drives around the world

Kaspersky-LOGO

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/r-russian-researchers-expose-breakthrough-us-spying-program-2015-2

The U.S. National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers, according to cyber researchers and former operatives.

That long-sought and closely guarded ability was part of a cluster of spying programs discovered by Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based security software maker that has exposed a series of Western cyberespionage operations.

Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. The targets included government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said.

The firm declined to publicly name the country behind the spying campaign, but said it was closely linked to Stuxnet, the NSA-led cyberweapon that was used to attack Iran’s uranium enrichment facility. The NSA is the agency responsible for gathering electronic intelligence on behalf of the United States.

A former NSA employee told Reuters that Kaspersky’s analysis was correct, and that people still in the intelligence agency valued these spying programs as highly as Stuxnet. Another former intelligence operative confirmed that the NSA had developed the prized technique of concealing spyware in hard drives, but said he did not know which spy efforts relied on it.

NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines declined to comment.

Kaspersky published the technical details of its research on Monday, which should help infected institutions detect the spying programs, some of which trace back as far as 2001.

The disclosure could further hurt the NSA’s surveillance abilities, already damaged by massive leaks by former contractor Edward Snowden. Snowden’s revelations have hurt U.S. relations with some allies and slowed the sales of U.S. technology products abroad.

The disclosure of these new spying tools could lead to greater backlash against Western technology, particularly in countries such as China, which is already drafting regulations that would require most bank technology suppliers to proffer copies of their software code for inspection.

According to Kaspersky, the spies made a technological breakthrough by figuring out how to lodge malicious software in the obscure code called firmware that launches every time a computer is turned on. Disk drive firmware is viewed by spies and cybersecurity experts as the second-most valuable real estate on a PC for a hacker, second only to the BIOS code invoked automatically as a computer boots up.

“The hardware will be able to infect the computer over and over,” lead Kaspersky researcher Costin Raiu said in an interview.

Though the leaders of the still-active espionage campaign could have taken control of thousands of PCs, giving them the ability to steal files or eavesdrop on anything they wanted, the spies were selective and only established full remote control over machines belonging to the most desirable foreign targets, according to Raiu. He said Kaspersky found only a few especially high-value computers with the hard-drive infections.

Kaspersky’s reconstructions of the spying programs show that they could work in disk drives sold by more than a dozen companies, comprising essentially the entire market. They include Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba, IBM, Micron, and Samsung.

Western Digital, Seagate and Micron said they had no knowledge of these spying programs. Toshiba and Samsung declined to comment. IBM did not respond to requests for comment.

———

“They include Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba, IBM, Micron, and Samsung.”

oh great..just fucking great..how the fuck does that happen?..who is control of production and purchasing at these companies..where the hell is the regulating and checking?

“The firm declined to publicly name the country behind the spying campaign, but said it was closely linked to Stuxnet, the NSA-led cyberweapon”

gee..who could that be?

401

~ by seeker401 on February 19, 2015.

15 Responses to “NSA has hidden software in hard drives around the world”

  1. Every PC is a spying implement… We know this, yet, it never ceases to floor me whenever new supporting evidence comes out.

    • tyhbnm

      • Ha! That has to be one of the coolest comment responses I’ve ever got. 🙂

        • your welcome mate! its so obvious yet so hidden in plain sight..and you could replace PC with mobile phone for the same effect..

          • Indeed… It amazes me that people still laugh/scoff at the idea that the government could possibly be spying on everybody, when it’s like, “Are you kidding me?” They don’t have to “plant” listening devices anymore, because we all go out and buy them, these computers that fit into your own pocket, each fitted with their own microphone, video camera, gps tracking etc.

            And as if that wasn’t enough, then everyone goes and uploads the minute details of their personal lives onto FB, essentially doing all the data-aggregation work FOR them…..(?)

  2. ” gee..who could that be? ”
    Please send answers on the back of a post card to Po box 666 tel aviv Israel .

  3. Reblogged this on Fusion Laced Illusions – "Can You Hear Me Now"?.

  4. Remember 401, these companies along with US government alphabet soup agencies are represented at the Bilderberg meetings. One can only assume they discuss and set up these ideas there.

  5. Reblogged this on Real News Australia.

  6. Looks like NSA is having leaner times looking for fresh graduates with Masters Degrees..

    Just wondering if people actually think much about who they work for – do you?? Do you think it matters ? I am sure most people would not – .,,,its about putting food on table?

    Do people flinch working for Big Banksters, Big Pharma , Big FRankensteins like Monsant0 or Syng3nta? where do you draw the line if you do. . . ?
    Or its not a problem at all – i just work the desk,,i don’t make no decisions. so really it shouldn’t matter.

    http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/the-nsa-is-having-trouble-recruiting-graduates-in-the-wake-of-snowden-leaks/story-fnjwnfzw-1227288086691

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