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Kaspersky Lab not ruling out NSA role in cyberespionage via hard drives

Kaspersky Lab, a Russian producer of software security programs, has not ruled out that the US National Security Agency (NSA) could be involved in cyberespionage using hard drives made by top manufacturers, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

"There is no direct evidence, however taking into consideration that Equation Group was linked to Stuxnet and Flame [a 2010 cyber virus aimed at Iran and other Middle East and Northern Africa countries] there may be a suggestion of the NSA's involvement," said the press service of the Moscow-headquartered company, which operates in almost 200 countries worldwide.

A report by Reuters on Monday said citing the findings of Kaspersky Lab and former intelligence agencies staff that the NSA had been planting surveillance software deep within hard drives made by manufacturers like Western Digital, Seagate and Toshiba.

The Kaspersky Lab findings said this cyberespionage scheme has been used by Equation Group. Kaspersky said it has found personal computers infected with at least one spying program in 30 countries of the world.

Most such cases were reported in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. The targets were government and military institutions, telecoms and energy companies, banks, mass media, Islamic activists and nuclear researchers.

NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines has refused to comment on the report publicly. US hard disk drive manufacturers Western Digital and Seagate said they knew nothing about this spy program. Tokyo-based Toshiba has declined to comment.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 17Feb15]

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Privacy and counterintelligence
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