The latest documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden confirms that up to 100,000 machines were fitted with small devices that emitted radio waves; the Russian and Chinese military along with the Mexican drug cartels were among the targets of this spying effort.
The leak alleges the NSA inserted small circuit boards or USB devices into machines; this allowed the machine to broadcast radio waves which could then be picked up by operatives nearby. This negated the need for the computer in question to be connected to a network at all. The devices are not new technology but this does seem to be the first time they have been used by the US intelligence agencies.
A spokeswoman with the NSA confirmed with the New York Times that the targets were all foreign, none were based on US Soil and that the NSA's activities are only targeted against valid targets in response to intelligence requirements. She went on to say "We do not use foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of - or give intelligence we collect to - US companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line."
The US President is expected to address concerns surrounding the NSA at a conference on Friday, quoting sources "briefed" on Barack Obama's plans, the Times reported that restrictions on the scope of collecting bulk telephone data will feature, and that a person will be appointed to represent the views of the public in secret intelligence meetings.
Source: BBC | Image courtesy of komputerswiat