Source: CNET News – Security & Privacy
Based on internal NSA documents, Der Spiegel reveals that the spy agency planted backdoors to access computers, hard drives, routers, and other devices from companies such as Cisco, Dell, Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor and Samsung.
A new report from Der Spiegel, based on internal National Security Agency documents, reveals more details about how the spy agency gains access to computers and other electronic devices to plant backdoors and other spyware.
The Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, is described as a “squad of digital plumbers” that deals with hard targets — systems that are not easy to infiltrate. TAO has reportedly been responsible for accessing the protected networks of heads of state worldwide, works with the CIA and FBI to undertake “sensitive missions,” and has penetrated the security of undersea fiber-optic cables. TAO also intercepts deliveries of electronic equipment to plant spyware to gain remote access to the systems once they are delivered and installed.
According to the report, the NSA has planted backdoors to access computers, hard drives, routers, and other devices from companies such as Cisco, Dell, Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor, Samsung, and Huawei. The report describes a 50-page product catalog of tools and techniques that an NSA division called ANT, which stands for Advanced or Access Network Technology, uses to gain access to devices.
This follows a report that the security firm RSA intentionally allowed the NSA to create a backdoor into its encryption tokens.