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NSA Hides Spying Backdoors into Hard Drive Firmware Empty
MessageSujet: NSA Hides Spying Backdoors into Hard Drive Firmware   NSA Hides Spying Backdoors into Hard Drive Firmware EmptyMar 17 Fév - 5:45

Article intéressant sur TechPowerUp.



TechPowerUp a écrit:
Russian cyber-security company Kaspersky Labs exposed a breakthrough U.S. spying program, which taps into one of the most widely proliferated PC components - hard drives. With the last 5 years seeing the number of hard drive manufacturing nations reduce from three (Korean Samsung, Japanese Hitachi and Toshiba, and American Seagate and WD) to one (American Seagate or WD), swallowing-up or partnering with Japanese and Korean businesses as US-based subsidiaries or spin-offs such as HGST, a shadow of suspicion has been cast on Seagate and WD.

According to Kaspersky, American cyber-surveillance agency, the NSA, is taking advantage of the centralization of hard-drive manufacturing to the US, by making WD and Seagate embed its spying back-doors straight into the hard-drive firmware, which lets the agency directly access raw data, agnostic of partition method (low-level format), file-system (high-level format), operating system, or even user access-level. Kaspersky says it found PCs in 30 countries with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria.
NSA Hides Spying Backdoors into Hard Drive Firmware 44a_thm

Kaspersky claims that the HDD firmware backdoors are already being used to spy on foreign governments, military organizations, telecom companies, banks, nuclear researchers, the media, and Islamic activities. Kaspersky declined to name the company which designed the malware, but said that it has close ties to the development of Stuxnet, the cyber-weapon used by NSA to destabilize Iran's uranium-enrichment facilities.

Kaspersky claims that the new backdoor is perfect in design. Each time you turn your PC on, the system BIOS loads the firmware of all hardware components onto the system memory, even before the OS is booted. This is when the malware activates, gaining access to critical OS components, probably including network access and file-system. This makes HDD firmware the second most valuable real-estate for hackers, after system BIOS.

Both WD and Seagate denied sharing the source-code of their HDD firmware with any government agency, and maintained that their HDD firmware is designed to prevent tampering or reverse-engineering. Former NSA operatives stated that it's fairly easy for the agency to obtain source-code of critical software. This includes asking directly and posing as a software developer. The government can seek source-code of hard drive firmware by simply telling a manufacturer that it needs to inspect the code to make sure it's clean, before it can buy PCs running their hard-drives.

What is, however, surprising is how "tampered" HDD firmware made it to mass-production. Seagate and WD have manufacturing facilities in countries like Thailand and China, located in high-security zones to prevent intellectual property theft or sabotage. We can't imagine tampered firmware making it to production drives without the companies' collaboration.


Source: TechPowerUp

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