NSA has open door into 100,000 computers, thanks to radio waves

BY newsdesk  January 15, 2014 at 11:13 AM EDT

Video still by PBS NewsHour

Video still by PBS NewsHour


The National Security Agency placed software on almost 100,000 computers that give the agency the ability to not only spy on the affected technology, but use them in possible cyber attacks, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

The report stated that while the NSA was able to install the software on most of the computers through gaining access to their respective networks, the agency utilized a covert radio frequency from micro chips and USB drives, placed manually by agents or unwitting users, to alter data of machines that aren’t connected to the internet. The tech allows the NSA to gain access to computers of adversaries that would otherwise be protected against surveillance.

The radio wave technology program has been used to implant the surveillance back-doors into systems used primarily by the Chinese Army, responsible for cyber attacks on U.S. targets. The Times, however, also reports the technology has been placed on computers used by entities within Mexico, the European Union, Saudi Arabia, India and Pakistan, including drug cartels, police and trade institutions. No evidence of the technology’s use in the United States has been confirmed.

The NSA claims that the use of the technology is for surveillance purposes and early detection of cyber attacks directed at the U.S.