NSA Can Spy On Computers Even If They Are Not Connected To Internet

NSA-squareYou have to hand it to the hackers at the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), they have some devious tricks. The New York Times details their technique for accessing computers that are kept offline:

The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the United States to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks.

While most of the software is inserted by gaining access to computer networks, the N.S.A. has increasingly made use of a secret technology that enables it to enter and alter data in computers even if they are not connected to the Internet, according to N.S.A. documents, computer experts and American officials.

The technology, which the agency has used since at least 2008, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers. In some cases, they are sent to a briefcase-size relay station that intelligence agencies can set up miles away from the target.

The radio frequency technology has helped solve one of the biggest problems facing American intelligence agencies for years: getting into computers that adversaries, and some American partners, have tried to make impervious to spying or cyberattack. In most cases, the radio frequency hardware must be physically inserted by a spy, a manufacturer or an unwitting user.

The N.S.A. calls its efforts more an act of “active defense” against foreign cyberattacks than a tool to go on the offensive. But when Chinese attackers place similar software on the computer systems of American companies or government agencies, American officials have protested, often at the presidential level.

Among the most frequent targets of the N.S.A. and its Pentagon partner, United States Cyber Command, have been units of the Chinese Army…

[continues at the New York Times]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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8 Comments on "NSA Can Spy On Computers Even If They Are Not Connected To Internet"

  1. BuzzCoastin | Jan 15, 2014 at 11:55 am |

    yeah, well if their so goddamned smart & omniscient
    how’d they miss Snowdon, the Boston boming & 911?

    • Excellent question. Either they are not so smart and omniscient, or, if they are, then Snowden, et al are part of the plan. Or it could be that it’s a mixed bag; I don’t know.

      • BuzzCoastin | Jan 15, 2014 at 2:35 pm |

        welcome to the whirled of disinformation
        it’s a fog of uncertainty they’re hoping to create
        divide & conquer
        it’s a very old tactic

      • BuzzCoastin | Jan 15, 2014 at 2:48 pm |

        sea bove

      • One of the things many P.O.W.s say is most disturbing is the feeling that they are always being watched.

    • They’ve got to have PR fodder to keep the killing going?

      • BuzzCoastin | Jan 15, 2014 at 2:47 pm |

        most of the perpetrators of these paranoid pranks
        are merely pawns of an electronic force
        beyond their awareness
        that situmlates their amygdalas
        in paroxysms of paranoia

  2. Tchoutoye | Jan 15, 2014 at 5:10 pm |

    I’m starting to have suspicions about the NSA revelations, which are becoming increasingly fantastical. What if they are deliberately “leaked” in order to instigate fear and paranoia?

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