from the likely-but-not-proven dept.
All of you knew that it could only get worse:
Kaspersky malware probers have uncovered a new 'operating system-like' platform that [they claim] was developed and used by the National Security Agency (NSA) in its Equation spying arsenal. The EquationDrug or Equestre platform is used to deploy [an estimated] 116 plug-in modules to target computers that can siphon data and spy on victims. So far, only 30 modules have been identified.
"It's important to note that EquationDrug is not just a trojan, but a full espionage platform, which includes a framework for conducting cyber-espionage activities by deploying specific modules on the machines of selected victims," Kaspersky researchers say in a report.
The article goes on to explain that Kaspersky further believes that the software is part of the "NSA's campaign to infect hard disk firmware". There is considerably more detail in the article.
I think I am going to get my old manual typewriter out of the garage, get a new ribbon, use U.S. Mail instead of e-mail, and buy more ink for my fountain pens.
A malware campaign discovered by researchers for Kaspersky Lab this month was in fact a US military operation, according to a report by CyberScoop's Chris Bing and Patrick Howell O'Neill. Unnamed US intelligence officials told CyberScoop that Kaspersky's report had exposed a long-running Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) operation targeting the Islamic State and Al Qaeda.
The malware used in the campaign, according to the officials, was used to target computers in Internet cafés where it was believed individuals associated with the Islamic State and Al Qaeda would communicate with their organizations' leadership. Kaspersky's report showed Slingshot had targeted computers in countries where ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other radical Islamic terrorist groups have a presence or recruit: Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The publication of the report, the officials contended, likely caused JSOC to abandon the operation and may have put the lives of soldiers fighting ISIS and Al Qaeda in danger. One former intelligence official told CyberScoop that it was standard operating procedure "to kill it all with fire once you get caught... It happens sometimes and we're accustomed to dealing with it. But it still sucks. I can tell you this didn't help anyone."
This is good malware. You can't expose the good malware!
Related: Kaspersky Claims to have Found NSA's Advanced Malware Trojan
Ties Alleged Between Kaspersky Lab and Russian Intelligence Agencies
Kaspersky Willing to Hand Source Code Over to U.S. Government
Kaspersky Lab has been Working With Russian Intelligence
FBI Reportedly Advising Companies to Ditch Kaspersky Apps
Federal Government, Concerned About Cyberespionage, Bans Use of Kaspersky Labs Products
Kaspersky Lab and Lax Contractor Blamed for Russian Acquisition of NSA Tools
Recently, we have reported several claims (here, here, and here) made by the Russian security software manufacturer Kaspersky Lab that they have discovered 'evidence' of NSA involvement in malware. Now, Bloomberg claims that the Moscow-based computer security company has effectively been taken over by the FSB. Company founder Eugene Kaspersky was educated at a KBG-run school, which was never a secret, but the new report describes a much more current and intimate connection.
Kaspersky Lab is denying the allegations, as one might expect, and counter with the statement:
It's not as though the US has clean hands in all of this. The CIA has funded the development of security software firms like FireEye, Veracode, and Hytrust though its In-Q-Tel investment fund, and American firms have been noticeably silent when it comes to investigating suspected US state-sponsored malware.
We are unlikely to hear the truth from either side, nor should we realistically expect a confession from the NSA or the FSB. Nevertheless, it is possible that the security industries on both sides are 'guilty' of looking after their respective government's interests and what we are seeing is just another day in the world of intelligence collection and cyber-security, the world of claim and counter-claim.
[Editor's Comment: Typo fixed at 15:39 UTC]