Throughout the extended weekend, there had been rumors circulating around the blogosphere that a huge NSA hacking story—not originating via Edward Snowden—was about to break, and it was going to be a doozey. Sure enough, it’s all but “official,” per breaking news from Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, one of the most highly-regarded cybersecurity firms in the world, via stories over the past few hours in Tuesday’s NY Times, Reuters and ARS Technica, among others, we’re now learning that America is the source of the greatest software exploitation (hacking) travesty ever reported.
As you’ll learn in the excerpted breaking stories, below, apparently, the NSA’s toolbox includes its ability to hack virtually every hard drive on the planet (even including those in “airgap” mode, unconnected to a network, via deviously-hidden code on data sticks); then, embed its code in the hard drive’s firmware, so securely and covertly that even a disk-wipe won’t erase the malware on the drive!
Let’s start off with the NY Times’ downplayed and propagandized version of the story (contrary to the NYT’s headline, a review of the Kaspersky Lab Report, available in full, below, indicates that, indeed, there were/are NSA-related hacks in the U.S. Ars Technica provides the most comprehensive and outstanding coverage of this story, which is linked and excerpted further down. Reuters, also linked and excerpted below, provides extremely convincing proof positive that this is a 14-plus-year-long story about the National Security Agency’s hacking efforts, which ARS Technica references as: “…the most advanced hacking operation ever uncovered…”)…
U.S. Embedded Spyware Overseas, Report Claims
By NICOLE PERLROTH and DAVID E. SANGER
New York Times (Page B1)
February 17th, 2015
SAN FRANCISCO — The United States has found a way to permanently embed surveillance and sabotage tools in computers and networks it has targeted in Iran, Russia, Pakistan, China, Afghanistan and other countries closely watched by American intelligence agencies, according to a Russian cybersecurity firm.
In a presentation of its findings at a conference in Mexico on Monday, Kaspersky Lab, the Russian firm, said that the implants had been placed by what it called the “Equation Group,” which appears to be a veiled reference to the National Security Agency and its military counterpart, United States Cyber Command.
It linked the techniques to those used in Stuxnet, the computer worm that disabled about 1,000 centrifuges in Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. It was later revealed that Stuxnet was part of a program code-named Olympic Games and run jointly by Israel and the United States.
Kaspersky’s report said that Olympic Games had similarities to a much broader effort to infect computers well beyond those in Iran. It detected particularly high infection rates in computers in Iran, Pakistan and Russia, three countries whose nuclear programs the United States routinely monitors…