February 18, 2015

NSA or Not, Surveillance Malware Endangers Internet

Featuring Ben FitzGerald

Malware linked with the National Security Agency that has been used to spy on computers around the world​​​​​​​​​​ threatens to ma​​​ke the Internet less safe by spreading sophisticated infections that are increasingly difficult to remove.

Hackers code-named the Equation group are said to have infected computers in 30 countries with “highly sophisticated” spyware that resembles code and techniques used by the Flame virus and the Stuxnet worm designed by the NSA and Israel for use against Iran, cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab reported this week. ​Kaspersky, which named the hacker group based on the complexity of its methods, characterized it as "the most advanced threat actor" it had seen but ​stopped short of explicitly connecting it to the spy agency.

Former intelligence operatives told Reuters the NSA was involved with the Equation group and its efforts to manipulate computers using the malware. If that were true, it could damage President Barack Obama’s efforts both to rebuild trust in spy agencies and to reassure the tech industry that government is interested in upholding cybersecurity rather than weakening it for surveillance purposes.

Read the full article at U.S. News.

  • Ben FitzGerald

    Former Senior Fellow and Director, Technology and National Security Program

    Ben FitzGerald was a Senior Fellow and Director of the Technology and National Security Program at CNAS. In this capacity, Mr. FitzGerald led CNAS efforts to explore...