The US National Security Agency (NSA) has said that it has “no comment” to claims that it has installed malware on hard drives of internet users.
Initially Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs. Naming the attacking group “The Equation Group”, it targeted Government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said. However it declined to mention who the Equation Group was.
According to Reuters, the NSA figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers, according to cyber researchers and former operatives.
In an email to the Associated Press, NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines said: “We are aware of the recently released report. We are not going to comment publicly on any allegations that the report raises, or discuss any details.”
Kaspersky said that the campaign was able to infect “about 2,000 users per month” with victims in at least 30 countries, and the unique element of the campaign was its ability to install malware in computer hard drives made by major manufacturers including Western Digital, Seagate, Samsung and Maxtor.