In the past, it has been frequently hinted that the U.S. was behind some of the most sophisticated cyber warfare tools such as Stuxnet and Flame. Whereas U.S. has officially denied it, Washington Post has now published a report, citing Snowden as a source, which claims that U.S. security agencies launch a large number of cyber offensives each year.
According to the report published by Washington Post, the total number of such ‘offensives’ which were launched back in 2011 amounted to 231. In other words, 231 highly advanced and sophisticated cyber attacks were launched by the premier national cyber security agencies in the U.S.
Snowden reportedly revealed that nearly three-quarters of these attacks are geared towards primary targets which include Iran, Russia, North Korea and China. While that in itself is not good news, what is even more astonishing is the level of hardware and software sophistication adopted in these attacks.
The security agencies, for instance, have used hardware implants in the past to somehow ‘infect’ a network and then gain access to it by the trapdoor offered by the compromised, implanted hardware. These attempts are categorized by the agencies under the ‘Genie’ program.
Another recent system called ‘Turbine’ is cited in the report. This system is able to automate the control and execution of millions of ‘implants’ in networks, thus critically helpful in launching mass-scale cyber attacks. Most of these measures fall directly under illegal international practices but we can rest assured that the U.S. cybersecurity agencies will continue to indulge in such practices, unabashed and unapologetic.