Kaspersky has exposed a series of US cyber-espionage operations using spying software to eavesdrop various institutions globally.
The exposé might have major repercussions on the US companies having their offices in China. China had recently announced that it is coming up with a framework or set of guidelines governing the transmission of data and government being able to access such transmission. Though the specifics of this new policy are yet to be unveiled, the largely US dominated computer and banking industries in China has grown apprehensive that the guidelines would force them to bare their networks to government inspectors.
The US group in China had called the new cyber security policy is its broad, opaque and discriminatory approach that restricts global internet and ICT products and services would ultimately isolate Chinese ICT firms from the global marketplace and weaken cyber security.
The financial activities of the software providers will be monitored by Chinese encryption algorithms under the new regulations.
With the exposé, although Kaspersky hasn’t named the country directly makes a reference saying that the country was closely linked to Stuxnet, the National Security Agency (NSA) -led cyber-weapon that was used to attack Iran's uranium enrichment facility, US companies will undergo more scrutiny that usual for sure. NSA is an US agency responsible for gathering electronic intelligence.
The NSA is said to have hid spying software within the hard drives made by various companies such as Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and many others which in turn helps US to access computers globally, Reuters reported Monday.
According to Kaspersky, it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more spying programs and include government and military institutions, telecom companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media and militant activities.
The most spied countries include Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen, Algeria and Iran.
“Kaspersky's analysis was correct, and that people still in the spy agency valued these espionage programs as highly as Stuxnet. Another former intelligence operative confirmed that the NSA had developed the prized technique of concealing spyware in hard drives, but said he did not know which spy efforts relied on it,” a former NSA employee was quoted as saying by Reuters.
NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines said the agency was aware of the report but declined to comment publicly according to Reuters.
Kaspersky on Monday published the technical details of its research, a move that could help infected institutions detect the spying programs, some of which trace back as far as 2001.