The NSA can snoop in the computer of any American or foreign citizen, according to Russian researchers. The United States federal agency has allegedly discovered a means of hiding sabotage and spying software “deep within” hard drives, Vladimir Putin‘s cyber researchers claim.
Russian researchers say they found computers in 30 countries infected with at least one NSA spying program. The nations with the most computer infections were allegedly found in Iran, China, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Mali, Yemen, and Algeria.
Moscow-based security software maker, Kaspersky Lab, also says that the NSA spying targets include both government and military institutions, as well as telecommunications companies, energy companies, banks, the media, and nuclear researchers.
The National Security Agency computer spying began in 2001, but substantially increased in 2008 when President Barack Obama was elected, Russian cyber experts claim. The cyber hacking tools are reportedly designed to function even when computers are not connected to the Internet. The manufacturers of some of the computer drives are unaware that their product includes embedded NSA spying components, if the information shared by the cyber research group is accurate. The malicious software is reportedly housed with an “obscure firmware code” that is set to launch each time the computer is turned on.
Kaspersky also maintains that the NSA views disk drive firmware as the “second-most valuable real estate” on computers when it comes to cyber hacking. BIOS code, which generates automatically when a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet boots up, allegedly comes in a close second.
“The hardware will be able to infect the computer over and over,” Costin Raiu, lead Kaspersky researcher, said. “This surpasses anything known in terms of complexity and sophistication of techniques, and that has been active for almost two decades,” the Kaspersky Lab researchers added. The NSA obtains their source codes by posing as software developers, according to claims made by former intelligence operatives. NSA staffer have also allegedly told computer manufacturers that the federal government must complete a “security audit” to ensure that the source code used in the machines is “safe.”
If the research report offered by the Russian lab is accurate, the NSA could potentially take over the control of countless computers around the country – and the world. Once such control is established, NSA spies could have the capability to eavesdrop on any activity by the user and steal stored files.
What do you think about the allegations of NSA spying firmware on computers?
[Image via: Shutterstock.com]