The NSA has figured out "how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers," reports Joe Menn at Reuters, which gives the agency "the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world's computers."
The ability is part of a cluster of spying programs discovered by Kaspersky Lab, a 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.
"Russian researchers expose breakthrough U.S. spying program" [reuters.com]