Feeds

Modern spying 101: How NSA bugs Chinese PCs with tiny USB radios - NYT

Project 'Quantum' pwns air-gapped computers with mysterious devices

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The NSA has compromised almost 100,000 computers around the world in its quest to get its tentacles into air-gapped computers operated by adversaries such as the Chinese Army.

The revelation was made by the New York Times in a report published on Tuesday based on documents released by Edward Snowden.

The spy agency has penetrated these computers via "a secret technology that enables it to enter and alter data in computers even if they are not connected to the internet," the NYT reports.

This tech has been in use since 2008 and uses a "covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards."

These ghastly widgets sometimes pass data onto a briefcase-sized relay point named "Nightstand" that can be used up to eight miles away, and can feed data packets back to the compromised host. The tech is physically inserted by agents, component manufacturers, or unwitting people who have been pwned, we're told.

Frequent targets of the uber-snoop tech include the Chinese Army, along with Russian military networks, trade institutes within the European Union, systems used by Mexican police and drug cartels, and folk in Saudi Arabia, India, and Pakistan.

Some of this sneaky gear was crucial to the "Olympic Games" cyber-attack program which successfully inserted the Stuxnet virus into Iranian nuclear facilities. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.