Cybersecurity

The NSA Can Get You Offline, Too -- With Radio Waves

BrAt82/Shutterstock.com

Remember how we thought/hoped that keeping our computer offline would protect us from NSA snooping? Well, it won't! According to the New York Times' latest report from the Snowden files, the NSA has developed technology (under the Quantum code name, also used for those malware attacks) that can access computers through radio waves.

The device, called Cottonmouth I, was part of the 50-page catalog of fun spy devicesDer Spiegel wrote about last month:

Computer bugging devices disguised as normal USB plugs, capable of sending and receiving data via radio undetected, are available in packs of 50 for over $1 million.

NYT's report goes into more detail. "Cottonmouth I" is a USB plug with a tiny radio transceiver hidden inside. There's also a version that can directly inserted into the computer. The transceiver broadcasts to a briefcase-sized relay station ("Nightstand") which can be up to eight miles away.

There were no details on how many devices the transceivers have been implanted on or where, just that there is "no evidence" they're being used in this country. "Nearly 100,000" computers have some kind of NSA surveillance device implanted inside them, but the report doesn't break out how many of those are malware and how many are radio transceivers.

(Image via BrAt82/Shutterstock.com)

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// October 30
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