The NSA is Even Spying on Computers That Aren’t Online

Radio waves and implanted USB cards are used

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A computer doesn’t need to be online for the National Security Agency to take a peek.

The spy agency has managed to sneak surveillance software onto almost 100,000 computers worldwide, and is even able to use computers that aren’t connected to the Internet for spying and cyberattacks, the New York Times reports. The NSA relies on secret channels of radio waves that are transmitted from tiny circuits and USB cards implanted by NSA-friendly spies or manufacturers to snoop on offline computers.

The NSA targets include units of the Chinese army, Russian military networks, systems used by the Mexican police and drug cartels, European Union trade institutions, as well as U.S. partners like Saudi Arabia, India and Pakistan, the Times reports, in the latest details to emerge from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks.

The spying agency said it does not use implantation software or its radio frequency technology inside the United States, calling the tactics an “active defense” against foreign cyberattacks.

President Barack Obama is reportedly set to announce some curbs on the NSA’s surveillance activities on Friday.

[NYT]

14 comments
Tiger-Pi
Tiger-Pi

This reminds me of the extremely funny cartoon strip "Spy versus Spy' in Mad magazine. Niether side ever wins and every dirty trick is used by each 'Spy' to knock off each other's head. The Cold War has never ended and is being carried on individually  by each country, snooping on others in the name of 'national' interest or security. But It is a wonder how these agencies can humanly  process or use or  intelligebly anlayse the billions of tons of data they pick up with their electronic snoops. The CIA or NSA appear to be agencies  that  just cannot keep any 'secrets' locked up in its vaults. Blaming Snowdon  or other whistle blowers would not save their  necks in the future when some other dissident would blow the trumpet and leak off very damaging information. Aside, what did Obama get from listening to Merkel's phone calls? Or for that matter snooping on the French or Greeks or the Spanish. Was it  juicy gossip NSA h was interested in when they should be listening in on the Al-Qaeda networks. To my mind 99% of what these spooks pick up  turns out to be junk.

AmericanPrivacy
AmericanPrivacy

•Computers collecting and analyzing Internet traffic is just as much "surveillance" as a person peeping through a window

•Note that human rights law doesn’t allow mass, untargeted spying on ordinary, innocent people;


End mass spying now! Section 215 of the Patriot Act should not be used to collect every single Americans' calling records. And Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act shouldn't be used to "incidentally" or otherwise collect Americans' emails, phone calls, or chats. Protect the privacy rights of our digital communications.

Securing digital data, one computer at a time.

www.americansrighttoprivacy.com


traffikator
traffikator

At least the leaks has stopped the USA constantly harping on other countries that do the same. I was so sick of the hypocrisy about every other nation. Turns we are probably worst than they are about spying and at least they do not hide under the guise that they do not. They make it it known it is their policy. I cannot imagine what he has that will be revealed in case something happens to him. Right now, if anyone wants to take him out, go right ahead. Our Government has been corrupt for decades. Time for a reset. Frankly, it would be good for the world.

DanBruce
DanBruce

I'm glad that the folks at NSA are watching out for me and my family. We Americans have no idea where the next threat will come from. Hopefully, the NSA will be able to get some idea beforehand.

DeanKlovens
DeanKlovens

The release of news on malaware in various foreign computers and the breach of this info via the traitor Snowden should be enough to the Administration to not grant him clemency but to render him and bring him back to the US for justice.

tallpen168
tallpen168

This is crazy! What does the publisher think this report will do to USA and the other nations? Does US spying agency have the capability to keep secrets? It is ironic to hear all the comments from countries like China that the US is spying, while they do nothing less, even more on its own people. While we enjoy the freedom of speech and publishing, should we also think about the damage to our country interest? Is there a better way to communicate/control this kind of information?

jmac
jmac

Isn't it great that we're letting the Chinese know how we spy on them?  "Documents obtained by Mr. Snowden indicate that the U.S. has set up two date centers in China  - perhaps through front companies - from which it can insert malware into computers."


In the meantime, China has surveillance software on American computer systems  and have hacked into the Pentagon and The New York Times.   What has Snowden told us in depth about their spying?  

Vivelevin
Vivelevin

I find this disheartening...this level of ability to spy on people...and not for a minute do I believe they don't use it to spy on American citizens.   If they don't, they will.

rutnerh
rutnerh

Safest way to create and transfer top secret docs prior to meetings is by old fashioned typewriter and older copying equipment handdelivered to all parties. Most other means are subject to industrial spying by US and other parties.

wenchypoo
wenchypoo

T<i>he spying agency said it does not use implantation software or its radio frequency technology inside the United States</i>

Yeah...we've all heard THAT one before!

Yoshi
Yoshi

If everything's a secret, who's to know WHAT is actually going on? 

RobertCox
RobertCox

@jmac This sounds like surveillance hardware not just software. I wonder if my Lenovo laptop is able to communicate with the Chinese military when it's powered down.