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NSA reportedly hiding spyware in computer hard drives

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The United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) has discovered a way to hide surveillance software deep inside the firmware of computer hard-drives, according to alarming new reports on Monday.

Based on revelations from the security experts at Kaspersky Labs, Reuters sources claim the NSA is placing spyware within drives from the likes of Western Digital, Seagate and Toshiba.

The worms enable the NSA to steal files or eavesdrop on infected machines as soon as they're connected to the internet, according to the report.

Moscow-based Kaspersky uncovered a host of sophisticated spying programs closely linked to the NSA’s Stuxnet cyberweapon used to attack Iran in the past.

While Kaspersky stopped short of naming the NSA as the culprits (Reuters did not) it said the techniques - used by the so-called Equation Group - had resulted in the discovery of malware within PCs in 30 countries.

Those nations included Iran, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and other middle eastern countries. The infections mainly targeted governments and military institutions, as well as communications companies, nuclear researchers, the media and Islamic activists.

“…only now Kaspersky Lab’s experts can confirm they have discovered a threat actor that surpasses anything known in terms of complexity and sophistication of techniques, and that has been active for almost two decades – The Equation Group,” the company said in a report published on Monday.

Read more: Kaspersky PURE 3.0 review

The NSA has declined to comment on the reports, which are sure to deal a further blow to the United States' efforts to play down the global surveillance controversy exposed by Edward Snowden.

martin

February 17, 2015, 12:15 am

"Steel files"? or "Steal files"

Guest

February 17, 2015, 3:13 am

Perhaps that might explain why more and more western consumers buy Lenovo Chinese manufactured computers?

Bryan J

February 17, 2015, 5:28 am

I'm surprised this hasn't already been discovered before now.

Chris Smith

February 17, 2015, 5:46 am

My bad... fixed that typo!

Robert Wilton

February 17, 2015, 9:31 am

Presumably because they prefer to be spied on by the Chinese rather than the US?

MikeL

February 17, 2015, 12:10 pm

Lenovo makes their own hard drives do they?

Guest

February 17, 2015, 4:54 pm

I certainly have more trust in the Chinese than I do the US.

MikeL

February 19, 2015, 7:46 pm

well, it looks like Lenovo aren't as trusted as they can be then with Superfish

Guest

February 21, 2015, 9:14 pm

Superfish makes itself obvious as soon as you turn the machine on, it bombards you with advertisements. It took me all of 30 seconds to remove it. Superfish shows up in the programs and registry and is easy to remove. The same cannot be said for NSA spyware.

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