The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and the Pentagon have inserted software and hardware “implants” into nearly 100,000 computers around the world, according to a report in the New York Times late Tuesday.
Most of this effort appears involve surreptitiously sticking surveillance software into target PCs via the network, but some of it involved physical access. It’s hard to remotely target a so-called “air-gapped” computer that has no network access, so the NSA also uses small radio transceivers when it can, either in a tiny circuit board (which would suggest manufacturer involvement) or hidden in a USB plug. The transceivers communicate with equipment held by an NSA field operative, who can be up to 8 miles away.
These techniques were already revealed in a series of stories in Der Spiegel at the end of last year (that included the above picture). However, although it’s vague on the split between software…
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