NSA Reportedly Can Bug Computers Before They Reach Buyers

/ 3 years ago


Apparently the NSA does not have to wait until people are using technology to start snooping on it. Spiegel has obtained documents which claim that the agency’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group can intercept computer equipment orders and install tracking hardware or software before the shipments even reach their buyers. The division can target a wide array of hardware, too. Another NSA section, ANT, reportedly has a catalog of tools that can install back doors in everything from Cisco and Huawei network systems through to hard drives from most major manufacturers, including Seagate and Western Digital. Some of these bugs can give the NSA “permanent” access, since they’re designed to persist if the owner wipes a device’s storage or upgrades its firmware.

The leak suggests that the targeted manufacturers aren’t aware of what’s happening; Cisco and other firms tell Spiegel they don’t coordinate with the NSA. These hardware interceptions are also limited in scope next to remote surveillance programs. The agency isn’t confirming any specifics, but it maintains that TAO is focused on exploiting foreign networks. Whether or not that’s true, the discoveries show that the NSA’s surveillance can reach the deepest levels of many networks.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Spiegel

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  • Joe Wingett

    In my personal opinion, it’s time the people of the world
    stood up and said that enough is enough. They have no right to look into our
    private lives on a personal basis, no right to bug our technology and snoop in
    on our privacy, no right to treat people as objective threats. I’m sure they
    can fabricate some results to say that their unwanted unwarranted invasions of
    privacy are worth their time and effort, and are helping to reduce the threat
    to Americans, but do they really? No. Surveillance is a tool to be used for
    targeted operations, not something to spread across the globe spying on every
    ordinary person.

    And the security concerns this raises are unbelievable – the
    ease with which the NSA could be hacked and personal details for the world
    spread into the hands of those who would abuse them is too high for comfort,
    and by far outweighs the risk of terrorism in America. Use your taxes for
    something constructive, like solving youth unemployment or poverty, not your
    own selfish concerns, American government.

    After all, isn’t the government supposed to work for the
    people, not the other way round?

    And isn’t the paranoia level in the NSA just too high?
    Terrorism isn’t going to bring your country to ruin. Famous last words,
    perhaps, but likely the truth all the same.