According to a New York Times report this week, the NSA planted surveillance software on 100,000 computers worldwide. (The agency says it did not target anyone in the US.)
The NSA is snooping via RF transceivers from tiny PCB and USB cards, the NYT reported. Data is hacked from the computers and transmitted to NSA relay stations up to eight miles away -- whether the computers are online or offline. The agency says it's used the surveillance on the Chinese and Russian military forces, drug cartels, EU trade institutions, and US partners such as Saudi Arabia, India, and Pakistan.
Supposedly, the attacks on China's army in particular are based on that country's systematic attacks on US industrial and military targets to steal IP or secrets. It seems that China has covertly done the same thing -- to loud US protest.
The plants were disclosed initially by Edward Snowden. Documents released by Snowden put the number of plants at 50,000 -- half of the current estimate -- and revealed that this method was used in the Stuxnet cyberattack against Iranian nuclear centrifuges.
The NSA repeatedly said that this was not used in the US. Ah, huh. So, any opinion on this? Is it just business as usual, or is this sort of surveillance of countries getting out of hand? Does it make the US industrial segments and military safer in the long run, or does it actually make them a bigger target?
I think target.