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The U.S. National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers…

That long-sought and closely guarded ability was part of a cluster of spying programs discovered by Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based security software maker that has exposed a series of Western cyberespionage operations.

Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. The targets included government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said.

The firm declined to publicly name the country behind the spying campaign, but said it was closely linked to Stuxnet, the NSA-led cyberweapon that was used to attack Iran’s uranium enrichment facility. The NSA is the agency responsible for gathering electronic intelligence on behalf of the United States.

A former NSA employee told Reuters that Kaspersky’s analysis was correct, and that people still in the intelligence agency valued these spying programs as highly as Stuxnet. Another former intelligence operative confirmed that the NSA had developed the prized technique of concealing spyware in hard drives, but said he did not know which spy efforts relied on it.

Kaspersky published the technical details of its research on Monday, which should help infected institutions detect the spying programs, some of which trace back as far as 2001.

Another opportunity to confirm which politicians and pundits are serious about protecting individual privacy and which consider kissing government spy-butts more important. Let’s see who lines up on which side in coming days discussing this latest revelation.

  1. RR1 says:

    Oh the sheeple…..

  2. If you can't beat 'em says:

    Stage 6) JOIN ‘EM

    “Actually, I hear surveillance work pays pretty good! Where can I sign-up?”

  3. Hmeyers says:

    This message brought to you by the people who post all their crap on Facebook.

  4. Big Brother says:

    Wallow in the ignorance — you’ll feel better. Trust me! The truth is something you will deny anyway.

  5. Phydeau says:

    If only we hadn’t elected Obomba the commie socialist nazi commie (did I say nazi?) kenyan! Those nice Republicans NEVER would have used the NSA to spy on us!!!


    (For the irony impaired: yes, people in power want to spy on people not in power. It’s up to We The People to push back and cause a stink when we find out it happens!)

    • LibertyLover says:

      You were the first person to mention Obama on this page.

      In fact, the article only mentions him once, and that is in passing:

      Peter Swire, one of five members of U.S. President Barack Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology, said the Kaspersky report showed that it is essential for the country to consider the possible impact on trade and diplomatic relations before deciding to use its knowledge of software flaws for intelligence gathering.

      Defensive today, aren’t we?

      It’s time to come down off of your high horse and admit you got took in along with the rest of the 50.1% who we were told voted for him.

      • Phydeau says:

        LL, you know whatever the problem is in America, Obama is to blame. You’ve seen how the wingnuts here think. Just wait.

        And yeah, go ahead and make the case that Mitt Rmoney (sic) would have been a better choice. πŸ™„

        • LibertyLover says:

          Absolutely not. Both of the two major parties are two heads of the same coin. The only difference is who tosses it.

          • LibertyLover says:

            two heads == two sides.


          • Phydeau says:

            You really think President Al Gore would have started a war with Iraq?

          • LibertyLover says:

            If it was beneficial to the Party, yes.

            You still believe our elected officials are beholden to us? Really?

          • Phydeau says:

            You didn’t answer the question. Yes or no. But then, I didn’t expect you to. You have your belief that both parties are the same, and no doubt you’d experience unacceptable cognitive dissonance to actually admit even one difference between them.

          • Β± says:

            Look who broke the irony meter again by complaining (incorrectly this time), that someone else besides himself can’t answer a yes or no question.


          • LibertyLover says:

            Stop it, Β±, you’re gonna make him cry.

            P, yes, he would have. And enjoyed it.

            We would all be chanting, “Gore Lied and People Died” if he had been elected.

          • Phydeau says:

            Well thanks for the input, LL. Guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

            But kudos to the wingnuts for not reflexively bashing Obama on this security thing. Credit where credit is due. πŸ™‚

          • LibertyLover says:

            And there is where you are mistaken.

            The Party would have ensured he did. Bush would not have been able to invade with the Ds support. Guess what…he got it.

            And guess what again…The Obamessiah is going to get his AUMF with the R’s blessing.

            Both of the major parties wanted the Iraq war just like both of them are grinning ear to ear they have ISIS to fight.

            Dude, you have really got to get your head out of the DNC’s butt-crack and realize what is really going on around you. The whole purpose of restricting the conversation to two parties is to keep the argument boiled down to us-vs.-them. There is not room for logic in those types of arguments. If you don’t believe me, look at every one of your responses; you always devolve to that–my guys are better than your guys. Really? That’s all you got?

          • LibertyLover says:

            ARRG–Bush would not have been able to invade without the Ds support…

            Thing blog could really use an editing feature.

          • Phydeau says:

            If you had read your history, you would know about the various right-wing Republicans chompin’ at the bit to invade Iraq. Gore probably would have invaded Afghanistan like Bush did, but there was no push in the Democratic party to go to war with Iraq. History has showed us that the R’s lied to America to get us into war with Iraq. Their idiotic “master plan”. Yes, the D’s went along with it, pretty spineless of them, but they wouldn’t have started it if they were in charge.

            And yes, the D’s are better than the R’s, no doubt about it. That doesn’t make them perfect by any means, they got plenty of flaws. But wingnuts tend to have a black-and-white worldview so they will no doubt see this as me “worshiping” Democrats. πŸ™„

          • LibertyLover says:

            but there was no push in the Democratic party to go to war with Iraq.

            LOL! Damn, you’re naive.

            Hillary was chomping at the bit for a regime change in Iraq just as much as she wanted one in Libya. If the DNC didn’t approve of her behavior, she wouldn’t be leading the pack.

            Ds have been committing the same old sins, year after year, as the Rs. Japs in camps, Iran Shah installation, etc.

          • Phydeau says:

            LL, that black-and-white thinking may be comforting, but it makes you ill-prepared to handle the real world.

          • LibertyLover says:

            Black and White?

            Who only sees Rs and Ds?

            Think outside the square, P.

            There is more to the conversation than us vs. them.

          • LibertyLover says:

            Some more sins for you: Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Croatia. All started under D leadership. How much further would you like to go back?

            I tell you now, P, if the Ds aren’t the party of war, I would sure hate to see them if they ever decided they were.

            There is no difference other than whose turn it is to kick the can down the street.

          • Phydeau says:

            See, here’s those shades of gray for ya, LL. Of course the D’s have been in favor of various wars. I’m just saying they weren’t pushing the Iraq war. That was the PNAC nutballs in the Republican party. I stand by my assertion that President Gore wouldn’t have gotten us into Iraq.

          • LibertyLover says:

            How many Ds voted to give Bush the Authority to Use Military Force?

            I won’t post that number because I don’t want to embarrass you any further.

            Aw, hell, yeah I will:

            “Handing Bush a major victory, the Democratic-led Senate voted 77-23 for a war powers resolution negotiated between the White House and congressional leaders backing a possible use of force to rid Iraq of suspected weapons of mass destruction and possibly oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.”

            Sounds to me like quite a few Ds were in favor of it.

            That’s okay, P. I’ve been told I missed my calling as a teacher.

          • Phydeau says:

            Now it’s my turn to play teacher, LL. The D’s were spooked by 9/11 and Bush’s zoom to popularity (90% approval after a lackluster first year). The R’s lied convincingly about the mythical dangers posed by Iraq. Lied, LL. Got up there in front of Congress and the nation and flat out lied. And the D’s (and the rest of us) believed them, because what kind of shΙ¨thead scumbags would lie about such an important thing like that??? Not our honorable Republican Party, for sure! πŸ™„

            So based on those lies, the Democrats voted to support the war. Hell, almost all of us supported the war because the Republican lies made it sound so damn dangerous! And now all these years later and trillions of dollars spent and thousands of American lives WASTED (not to mention tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis killed) you have the balls to say the D’s and the R’s are the same.

            Go ahead, LL. Make your case that the D’s would have lied just like the R’s. Or save yourself from embarrassment and STFU.

          • LibertyLover says:

            If history teaches us anything, P, it teaches us that you are true believer and an apologist. The Rs could not have gotten away with what they did without the Ds help. If you don’t see that, please, stop breeding. You’re ruining this country.

          • Phydeau says:

            The Rs could not have gotten away with what they did without the Ds help.

            You’re avoiding my point. Yes, the R’s got help from craven and fearful D’s. My point, which you are so artfully dodging, is that if the D’s were in power, they wouldn’t have lied us into a disastrous war like the R’s did.

            Back to school, little man. πŸ™„

            And pedrito… thank you for your unique contributions! πŸ˜€

          • LibertyLover says:

            You really think the Ds didn’t know about everything? Really?

            How can half of the political spectrum know it was all bullshit and the other half not?

            Just because the Rs had the majority, don’t think for an instant the Ds didn’t sit on the same panels as the Rs.

            You have two options:

            1) the Ds as the dumbest and most incompetent bunch of morans to ever live because they didn’t see all the cover-ups going on right under their noses.

            2) the Ds knew everything and went along with it, making them just as liable as the Rs.

            Take your pick. Anything else just an excuse.

          • Phydeau says:

            Wow you are obtuse. The R’s ran the executive branch, the military, the FBI, the CIA, everything. And we all know they love to share all their information with their best buddies, the Democrats. πŸ™„ πŸ™„ πŸ™„ No, the Democrats didn’t know everything.

            The R’s had a public record of lusting after war with Iraq — PNAC et al. The D’s did not.

            The R’s lied us into that war. That’s a fact. You libertarians are weird enablers of the Republican party, so I understand you don’t accept that. Fine. I’m done trying to reason with a wall.

            I can explain it for you, but I can’t understand it for you.

          • LibertyLover says:

            Okay, now I understand what happened.

            You are the one who is dumb and incompetent. I pity you.


          • NewFormatSux says:

            You would think those Democrats would not then nominate someone to run on the platform,”Vote for me, I’m easily duped!”

            By the way, recently released how the US bought 400 sarin rockets in good condition. Looks like the WMD wasn’t just a little here or there.

          • LibertyLover says:


            It’s worse than that actually. Anyone with any historical sense will know that the CIA director who “lied” to everyone was appointed by Bill Clinton: George Tenet.

            So either 1) The Rs were lied to by a democrat CIA director or 2) Clinton appointed a republican CIA director.

            Of course, there is a 3rd option: Clinton put a Manchurian CIA director in power just to set up Bush. Yeah, that’s what happened.

    • sheesh says:

      There’s nothing more pathetic than this type of justification.

      • Phydeau says:

        Sheesh! Try some reading comprehension. No one is saying the spying is good. I’m just saying both R’s and D’s do it.

  6. Phydeau says:

    The article provides the solution:

    The exposure of these new spying tools could lead to greater backlash against Western technology, particularly in countries such as China, which is already drafting regulations that would require most bank technology suppliers to proffer copies of their software code for inspection.

    We need to be able to see the source code of the software/firmware that’s running on our devices, and make sure there are no “back doors”. It’s tough with hard drive firmware (or BIOS code for that matter) but that’s really the only way we can be sure the software isn’t compromised.

    Of course, who knows what back doors might lurk in the hardware itself… :/

    • NewFormatSux says:

      The solution is to have more software written not by Americans. That will eliminate the need for H1Bs as well, as all software jobs go overseas.

      • Phydeau says:

        If it’s software running in American banks, I’d think they would want it written by Americans. Just like the Chinese want their software written by Chinese.

        Be wary of free software, particularly password managers, written by companies in other countries.

        In my past I worked on US Government projects for Raytheon, with a security clearance I can’t tell you about. Occasionally people from other countries came through. We were told to be particularly wary of the French and the Israelis. Those two groups had a reputation for industrial espionage against their allies. I would personally not use software written by a company based in either of those countries.

        Just be aware… of course, companies based in the US can screw you too. :/

  7. John E. Quantum, the cunning linguist says:

    Now, I wouldn’t mind the Government intruding into my system quite so much if I could call them to recover the spreadsheets and documents I accidentally deleted.

  8. NewFormatSux says:

    If it’s Hillary vs Rand Paul, for whom do you vote?

  9. Guyver says:

    I guess according to this cartoon, this is a non-issue with racial minorities.

  10. HUGSaLOT says:

    I can’t see how this would work. Any form of spyware has to be executed for it to work. Most people delete partitions, and format and re-partition new HDDs and would clear out bullshit like this before they use it. In fact if you do have any sort of malware, even on the MBR, you do exactly this to clear the drive out… Short of a low-level format, which most people don’t do anymore (people do zero-write drives not the same as low-level).

    So maybe this spyware is in the firmware of the drive? What if you use the drive with a non-windows OS? How can a HDD send information over the internet on it’s own when it cant possibly have access to the internet?

    Cloud storage is a much easier target to “Spy” on.


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