Mom said: do not trust the firmware of hard drives

    Selecting the bread of the newsmen ....

    News flashed through all the channels, which was interesting for technical specialists. And also, for puzzle and crossword puzzles. The rule that illustrates this fact says: the problem is not always found under the flashlight, where it is light and convenient to search. Vulnerability and bugs can hide at a different search level. When insuring against vulnerabilities in programs, one must not forget that they can be built into the hardware.

    Next - quote RBC.

    Kaspersky revealed a unique American spyware program

    The US National Security Agency came up with the idea of ​​hiding spyware on hard drives manufactured by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other leading manufacturers, thus gaining access to information on most computers in the world. This was reported by Reuters, citing a study by Kaspersky Lab and testimonies of former NSA employees.
    According to the results of many years of observation, Kaspersky Lab was able to uncover the most complex and sophisticated cyber espionage system known to date. The company's specialists found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of these spyware programs. The largest number of infected computers, according to her, was in Iran, as well as Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. Most often, computers were attacked in government and military institutions, telecommunications companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear research companies, media companies, and Islamic activists.

    Kaspersky Lab does not name the specific country behind the spyware campaign. However, he clarifies that it is closely related to Stuxnet, which was developed by order of the NSA to attack Iran’s nuclear program facilities.

    A former NSA official told Reuters that Kaspersky’s findings are correct. According to him, current agency employees rate these spyware programs as highly as Stuxnet. Another former intelligence official confirmed that the NSA had developed a valuable way of hiding spyware on hard drives, but said it did not know what spyware tasks were assigned to them.

    NSA spokeswoman Vanie Vines declined to comment.

    Breakthrough in cyber espionage

    On Monday, Kaspersky published the technical details of its research, which should help institutions caught in a spyware attack detect malware, some of which date back to 2001. 

    As researchers at Kaspersky emphasize, the creators of spyware platforms have made a “tremendous technological achievement” by developing modules that can reprogram the factory firmware of hard drives. Such a deep infection allowed attackers to maintain control over the victim’s computer even if the disk was formatted or the operating system was reinstalled. According to Kaspersky, the "mysterious module" is able to penetrate the hard drive firmware of more than a dozen manufacturers, including Seagate, Western Digital, Toshiba, Maxtor, Micron Technology, IBM. These brands cover almost the entire hard drive market.

    Western Digital, Seagate, and Micron told Reuters that they knew nothing about these spyware modules. Toshiba and Samsung declined to comment on Kaspersky’s investigation.

    Despite the fact that these sophisticated “worms” could be implanted in thousands of hard drives, in practice, hackers were selective and subjugated only computers of the most valuable foreign objects of surveillance, said Kostin Raiu, head of the Global Research and Analysis Department of Kaspersky Lab.

    It should be noted that recently reports about the detection of viruses and trojans by the Laboratory have become more frequent. So, on January 27, 2015, the news “Kaspersky Lab: Regin Trojan is an NSA tool ” from Der Spiegel took place (the Regin virus code was used simultaneously by “various institutions from different countries”).

    No more than yesterday, on roem.runoted another connection between the publication of the Laboratory’s long and complex investigation of a series of bank hacks and Obama’s previous statement about the requirement for businesses to disclose hacking cases that occurred to them. The network publisher notes: “The modern Eugene Kaspersky Lab“ learned to play PR ”and a few hours after Obama’s speech, just in time for the newspapers to come out on Monday, she promised to tell reporters about the hacking of 100 banks unknown since 2013.” The laboratory began to show an enviable ability to fall into a wave of resonant events.

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