Tuesday Open Thread 02-17-15
Good morning 99percenters!
News and Don Flemons, founding member of The Carolina Chocolate Drops
Cyber-Security Firm: NSA-Linked Spyware Found in Hard Drives Worldwide
Researchers with Kaspersky Lab describe what they say is "the most advanced threat actor" they’ve seen to date.
A top technology security firm announced on Monday that they have uncovered evidence that sophisticated spying software, likely linked to the National Security Agency, was implanted in the hard drives of personal computers across the globe.
Researchers with the Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab introduced their findings while presenting at the Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit in Cancun, Mexico, and also published an initial paper (pdf) Monday on what they consider "the most advanced threat actor" they’ve seen to date.
Dubbed the Equation Group, the suite of surveillance platforms has been found in hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, and located in personal computers in 30 countries, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria, Kaspersky said.
The targets reportedly included government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists.Although the firm did not publicly name the source behind the spying campaign, they said the Equation Group "worm" was closely linked to Stuxnet, the cyberweapon the U.S. used to attack Iran's uranium enrichment facility beginning in late 2007.
“You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”—George Orwell, 1984
None of us are perfect. All of us bend the rules occasionally. Even before the age of overcriminalization, when the most upstanding citizen could be counted on to break at least three laws a day without knowing it, most of us have knowingly flouted the law from time to time.
Indeed, there was a time when most Americans thought nothing of driving a few miles over the speed limit, pausing (rather than coming to a full stop) at a red light when making a right-hand turn if no one was around, jaywalking across the street, and letting their kid play hookie from school once in a while. Of course, that was before the era of speed cameras that ticket you for going even a mile over the posted limit, red light cameras that fine you for making safe “rolling stop” right-hand turns on red, surveillance cameras equipped with facial recognition software mounted on street corners, and school truancy laws that fine parents for “unexcused” absences.
My, how times have changed.
Today, there’s little room for indiscretions, imperfections, or acts of independence—especially not when the government can listen in on your phone calls, monitor your driving habits, track your movements, scrutinize your purchases and peer through the walls of your home. That’s because technology—specifically the technology employed by the government against the American citizenry—has upped the stakes dramatically so that there’s little we do that is not known by the government.
In such an environment, you’re either a paragon of virtue, or you’re a criminal.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, we’re all criminals. This is the creepy, calculating yet diabolical genius of the American police state: the very technology we hailed as revolutionary and liberating has become our prison, jailer, probation officer, Big Brother and Father Knows Best all rolled into one.
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