Report Claims the NSA Intercepts Laptops To Install Spyware

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A shocking new report from Der Spiegel claims that internal NSA documents reveal the agency’s spying goes far beyond what we have thus far been told. The NSA’s elite hacking unit, known as TAO, is able to implement sophisticated “wiretaps” via spyware that is installed before laptops reach their destinations.

The report claims that the NSA, collaborates with the CIA and FBI, to intercept and “bug” laptops sent away for repairs, or ordered online for home delivery. The Der Spiegel report says that TAO diverts shipping deliveries to its own, “secret workshops”. They call this method, “interdiction.” Agents then install spy malware onto devices, or malicious hardware that allows the NSA, CIA or FBI remote access to the devices.

T.C. Sottek writes for The Verge that, “One of the products the NSA appears to use to compromise target electronics is codenamed COTTONMOUTH, and has been available since 2009; it’s a USB, “hardware implant” that secretly provides the NSA with remote access to the compromised machine.”

The report obtained by Der Spiegel describes this as a “mail-order spy catalog.” Sottek explains that, “The report indicates that the catalog offers backdoors into the hardware and software of the most prominent technology makers, including Cisco, Juniper Networks, Dell, Seagate, Western Digital, Maxtor, Samsung, and Huawei.”

The report says that the NSA, “can even exploit error reports from Microsoft’s Windows operating system; by intercepting the error reports and determining what’s wrong with a target’s computer, the NSA can then attack it with Trojans or other malware.”

Cisco senior vice president John Stewart wrote that, “we are deeply concerned with anything that may impact the integrity of our products or our customers’ networks,” emphasizing that their company does, “not work with any government to weaken our products for exploitation.”

Other US companies have fired back against reports of NSA tampering in recent months, including Microsoft, which labeled the agency an “advanced persistent threat” over its efforts to secretly collect private user data within the internal networks of Google and Yahoo.

(Article by James Achisa; image via It Pro Co)

1 Comment on "Report Claims the NSA Intercepts Laptops To Install Spyware"

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  1. wiseoldsnail says:

    not remotely surprising . i’ve been careful to have my machines taken apart and checked when receiving delivery via ebay …

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