Keyboards and PCs: the tricks of the NSA to spy on mass

Like an electronic product catalog, a document of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA, for its acronym in English) reveals a number of resources, developments and electronic accessories ready to penetrate any computer network, from the complex systems of communication companies like Cisco and Huawei to keyboards and modified to be monitored remotely, even without an internet connection USB cables.

According to documents published by Der Spiegel, this impressive catalog of 50 pages was developed by an internal unit of the NSA, called ANT, which specifies a tool for all levels and situations of electronic espionage, some without cost and others with a value of up to $ 250,000.

The information is revealed on the same day a court authorized the NSA to keep your program for “metadata” of telephone calls in the United States.

In the case of the communications infrastructure, firewalls and security systems, the division ANT details a series of modifications based on the BIOS software equipment from Cisco, Juniper and Huawei developments. This development, called FEEDTROUGH is a spyware that keeps their functions even before system reboots or reinstalling an operating system.

The intrusion of the NSA in the BIOS, the software code necessary to operate the computer and its peripherals, allowing you to access servers from manufacturers like Dell and HP. The scope of these tactics was also affected such that routers from Juniper and Huawei. Various applications and hardware modifications were also developed to access wi-fi equipment and home or corporate computer networks.

In turn, a number of developments malware NSA security pledged firmware hard drives from manufacturers such as Western Digital, Maxtor, Seagate and Samsung.

The USB cables NSA, called under the codename COTTONMOUTH, were modified to have a device that allowed them to send and receive radio signals to remotely monitor the activity of the PC and execute commands remotely to compromise the security of a network.

For when the computer is disconnected from spying internet, there SURLYSPAWN, a tiny implant hardware that emits a signal with all the activity recorded by the keyboard. A similar development can be applied to electronic eavesdropping on a monitor.

All these developments NSA dating from 2008 and several of the teams mentioned were already discontinued when former analyst Edward Snowden revealed massive electronic eavesdropping led by U.S. and UK, although the ANT promised to create new tools.


Yesterday, the Court Foreign For Intelligence Surveillance (FISA), the secret court that oversees the interception of telecommunications, authorized the NSA to continue with its program for “metadata” of the EU calls, but not allowed to listen to communications.

For its part, the U.S. government asked the district court’s opinion revoke Columbia last month by a lower court against the surveillance program of the NSA, citing “national security interests are at stake “.



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