Nytt

Den amerikanske organisasjonen for elektronisk etterretning National Security Agency (NSA) har plantet programvare i omlag hundre tusen datamaskiner verden over for overvåknings- og sikkerhetsformål samt til potensielle cyberangrep, skriver New York Times.

I den forbindelse har NSA i økende grad tatt i bruk en teknologi som gjør det mulig å ta en viss kontroll også over datamaskiner som ikke er tilkoblet nettet, hva enten de befinner seg i Kina, Midtøsten eller andre steder – dette skal ikke ha skjedd innenfor USAs grenser, og er angivelig ikke benyttet til industrispionasje.

Metoden består i å smugle inn et kretskort e.l. i maskinen det gjelder, som oppretter radioforbindelse til en liten bærbar stasjon et stykke unna – et inngrep som kan gjøres ved hjelp av spioner, utro tjenere, lure tricks som utnytter personer i god tro, eller fra en samarbeidende fabrikants side.

Kineserne driver tilsynelatende med det samme spillet.

In interviews, officials and experts said that a vast majority of such implants are intended only for surveillance and serve as an early warning system for cyberattacks directed at the United States.

“How do you ensure that Cyber Command people” are able to look at “those that are attacking us?” a senior official, who compared it to submarine warfare, asked in an interview several months ago.

“That is what the submarines do all the time,” said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe policy. “They track the adversary submarines.” In cyberspace, he said, the United States tries “to silently track the adversaries while they’re trying to silently track you.”

If tracking subs was a Cold War cat-and-mouse game with the Soviets, tracking malware is a pursuit played most aggressively with the Chinese.

The United States has targeted Unit 61398, the Shanghai-based Chinese Army unit believed to be responsible for many of the biggest cyberattacks on the United States, in an effort to see attacks being prepared. With Australia’s help, one N.S.A. document suggests, the United States has also focused on another specific Chinese Army unit.

At amerikanerne hadde en viss evne til å ta kontroll over andres datasystemer, var forsåvidt ikke noe nytt. Det var noen metoder i denne gaten de benyttet til å sabotere Irans atomprogram:

But the Iranians and others discovered some of those techniques years ago. The hardware in the N.S.A.’s catalog was crucial in the cyberattacks on Iran’s nuclear facilities, code-named Olympic Games, that began around 2008 and proceeded through the summer of 2010, when a technical error revealed the attack software, later called Stuxnet. That was the first major test of the technology.

One feature of the Stuxnet attack was that the technology the United States slipped into Iran’s nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz was able to map how it operated, then “phone home” the details. Later, that equipment was used to insert malware that blew up nearly 1,000 centrifuges, and temporarily set back Iran’s program.

Det som er nytt, er snarere opplysningene om skalaen og det globale nedslagsfeltet.

 

N.S.A. Devises Radio Pathway Into Computers