The US National Security Agency has developed the ability to hide snooping software deep within hard drives made by top manufacturers, enabling it to eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers, according to a report.
Reuters quoted Kaspersky Lab, a Moscow-based cyber security firm, as saying that it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs.
That long-sought ability to embed spying software in hard drives made by firms such as Western Digital, Seagate and Toshiba was part of a cluster of spying programs discovered by Kaspersky Lab, the report said.
Most infections were seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria, the Russian firm was quoted as saying.
The targets were said to include government and military institutions, telecoms firms, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media and Islamic activists.
Kaspersky Lab didn’t 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 report said.
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