NSA Intercepts Electronics in Transit to Install Malware

Today is one of those days that ends in a “y”. That must mean the National Security Agency (NSA) is doing something dickish again. The NSA has been intercepting electronic devices during delivery to install malware on them:

Take, for example, when they intercept shipping deliveries. If a target person, agency or company orders a new computer or related accessories, for example, TAO can divert the shipping delivery to its own secret workshops. The NSA calls this method interdiction. At these so-called “load stations,” agents carefully open the package in order to load malware onto the electronics, or even install hardware components that can provide backdoor access for the intelligence agencies. All subsequent steps can then be conducted from the comfort of a remote computer.

These minor disruptions in the parcel shipping business rank among the “most productive operations” conducted by the NSA hackers, one top secret document relates in enthusiastic terms. This method, the presentation continues, allows TAO to obtain access to networks “around the world.”

Even in the Internet Age, some traditional spying methods continue to live on.

There are no words to describe the absolute insanity that is the NSA. What’s even worse is that many people are perfectly fine with the surveillance apparatus it has established. A lot of people have actually fallen for the “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear” line. Fortunately the NSA’s actions have garnered more disapproval overseas. But that disapproval is unlikely to accomplish much.

At this point it’s pretty obvious that proprietary platforms are a liability. With a completely open platform one has the ability to verify if any additional hardware has been added to a device or if the software has been modified in any way. That’s not to say open platforms are a magic bullet, but they do offer the ability to more closely scrutinize the hardware and software while adding a way to verify if alternations have been made. Without our reliance on closed platforms we lack this ability entirely.