Tags: NSA/Surveillance | cyber | worm | sabotage | computers | US | Iran

Claim: US Has Undetectable Secret Spyware in Computers in China, Russia, Iran, More

By    |   Monday, 16 Feb 2015 07:36 PM

A Russian cybersecurity firm claims the United States government has embedded tools for surveillance and sabotage in computers and networks in several countries, according to a report.

The New York Times reports Iran, Russia, Pakistan, China, and Afghanistan are among the countries targeted.

Kaspersky Lab made the claims during a conference in Mexico on Monday, saying both the National Security Agency and the United States Cyber Command are behind the attacks.

The firm said the techniques used in the electronic eavesdropping are similar to the 2010 computer worm that rendered about 1,000 centrifuges in Iran's nuclear program inoperable. Called Stuxnet, the worm was part of a secret program codenamed "Olympic Games" that was allegedly run by both the U.S. and Israel.

According to the Times report, Kaspersky claims the software is buried deep within computers and networks in several nations whose nuclear programs are being monitored by the U.S. And it works on computers that are not connected to the Internet, which was the case in the Iran centrifuges. To pull that off, spies must either insert a USB drive containing the virus into a computer, or the virus is pre-installed on the computers before they are shipped.

Kaspersky calls the culprits behind the cyber attacks the Equation Group, reports the Times. The software is able to penetrate a computer's firmware, which aids in the startup process.

Computers infected with a virus that gets into the firmware are often beyond repair, the Times notes. If the firmware is corrupted, the computer will not boot up.

"If the malware gets into the firmware, it is able to resurrect itself forever," Kaspersky threat researcher Costin Raiu said in a report about the matter, according to the Times. "It means that we are practically blind and cannot detect hard drives that have been infected with this malware."

Kaspersky concluded that the Equation Group has been infecting computers since 2001. In 2008, the firm noted, the program ramped up. That was the year President Barack Obama was elected.

Earlier Monday, the NSA was bracing for the leak of the information detailed in the New York Times report.

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A Russian cybersecurity firm claims the United States government has embedded tools for surveillance and sabotage in computers and networks in several countries, according to a report.The New York Times reports Iran, Russia, Pakistan, China, and Afghanistan are among the...
cyber, worm, sabotage, computers, US, Iran, Stuxnet, secret, firmware
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2015-36-16
Monday, 16 Feb 2015 07:36 PM
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