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NSA’s plan to inject malware into ‘millions’ of computers revealed

Published Mar 12th, 2014 8:30PM EDT
NSA Hacking Expansion Snowden

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Even if you make use of Snowden’s tips for remaining anonymous online, there might not be much you can do to escape the NSA’s latest expansion. Ryan Gallagher and Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept report that classified files reveal “new details about groundbreaking surveillance technology the agency has developed to infect potentially millions of computers worldwide with malware ‘implants.'”

The implants will be part of a major expansion that will eliminate the need for manual intervention in the hacking process, leaving “mass scale” hacks in the hands of automated systems. The infrastructure supporting the new program will run out of the NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland as well as the United Kingdom and Japan.

According to the report, the implants were originally intended for “a few hundred” specific targets, but through automation and structural enhancements, TURBINE (the codename for the system) will now “allow the current implant network to scale to large size (millions of implants) by creating a system that does automated control implants by groups instead of individually.”

“When they deploy malware on systems, they potentially create new vulnerabilities in these systems, making them more vulnerable for attacks by third parties,” says Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at the Finnish security firm F-Secure. “It sounds like wholesale infection and wholesale surveillance.”

Read more about these disturbing new revelation over at The Intercept, where Gallagher and Greenwald have delved deep into the latest information, providing context along with previous leaks.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.