Report Claims Automated Tools Used by NSA to Plant Malware on Millions of Computers

Posted on March 13, 2014 by .

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Just as the world turns, the controversy surrounding Edward Snowden and his leaks of NSA information churns out to reveal bombshells. The most recent bombshell happens to be the idea of the NSA utilizing automated tools to plant malware on millions of computers around the world.

A report published by the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher is based on information stolen by Edward Snowden highlighting technologies that enable the NSA to perform what is called “industrial-scale exploitation” of computer networks, or what we gather to be the spread of malware onto systems.

As it seems, according to the Intercept report and Snowden’s information, the NSA has an automated process in pace that allows them to plan malware on computers around the world reaching millions of systems.

Ever since Snowden has been on an information release binge, he has uncovered deep and dark secrets of the NSA. It turns out that the recent discovery of the NSA having the ability to plant malware on millions of computers through an automated tool uses a method similar to ones used by cybercrooks. Among these methods, it is now known that some of them will take to Facebook and setup a fake Facebook server to spread a piece of malware capable of stealing data from infected computers. The spread of the malware does not start or stop with a fake Facebook server, the NSA is alleged to have used spam campaigns to distribute software that could record audio and take images through connected webcams of infected computers.

Malware implants were part of planting malware through an NSA-developed solution called TURBINE. This system is said to manage active implants to allow them to conduct “industrial-scale exploitation.” In the grand scheme of things this could mean that the NSA has a broad surveillance initiative with a name called “Owning the Net.” To understand how vast this approach and initiative was, or could still be, you would want to consider the alleged $67.6 million budget requested by the NSA to make “Owning the Net” work last year.

Another implant said to be used by the NSA was UNITEDRAKE, which contains several plug-ins and could be used to gain complete control over an infected system. Other NSA entities have been said by Snowden, as revealed in the Intercept report, that the NSA used these capabilities to monitor foreign ISPs and phone companies outside of the normally expected scope of monitoring extremists and terrorists.

What do all of these allegations about the NSA reveal to us? Does it scare you even further to think how much control the NSA had when the utilized automated tools to plant malware on millions of worldwide computers?

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