So, remember how the NSA was reportedly stopping tech shipments to replace various computer components to make them more susceptible to cyber attacks? Well, it looks like the NSA has also been targeting routers, servers and other computer network devices.
According to a new report coming from Glenn Greenwald via The Guardian, the NSA plants backdoors and other spyware before these devices are shipped overseas.
The information comes, as always, from the batch of files that Edward Snowden provided the journalist with last year. Once more, it should be pointed out just how ironic it is that the United States government accused the Chinese government a couple of years ago of doing exactly this thing with Huawei and ZTE.
As a matter of fact, the government’s attack on the Chinese manufacturers were so violent that eventually Huawei decided to take a step back and abandon the US market. Ren Zhengfei, founder and CEO of Huawei, said in November last year that it wasn’t worth the trouble if the company’s presence in the United States caused trouble for the relationship between the US and China.
And while the American market was short of one big provider, the rest of the world should be avoiding the “Made in the USA” label for a range of products. Greenwald cites a June 2010 report from the chief of the NSA’s Access and Target Development department which indicates just how the NSA was fiddling with the tech shipments.
In the file, it is revealed that the NSA routinely receives or intercepts routers, servers and other computer networking devices that are being exported from the United States before they are delivered to the international customers.
The agency implants the spying tools, repackages the devices with a factory seal and sends them on their way.
“In one recent case, after several months a beacon implanted through supply-chain interdiction called back to the NSA covert infrastructure. The call back provided us access to further exploit the device and survey the network,” the file reads, explaining just how the NSA conducts business.
So while the US is pointing fingers across borders, it’s clear that it is doing the same thing that it is accusing others of.
While it’s not exactly safe to say that the Chinese aren’t doing their own snooping through such methods, products coming from the United States may be even more dangerous. Of course, no one can tell just how many devices are affected or from what manufacturers.