UK & World News
Snowden: NSA 'Targets Millions' With Malware
British and American spies are acting as malware hackers potentially targeting millions of computers worldwide, according to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The latest Snowden revelation claims that the NSA and GCHQ are expanding a massive programme of state-sponsored malware infection.
The NSA has also set up fake Facebook servers, to infect target computers, according to claims reported by The Intercept.
The malware allows spies to listen in to targets, watch them in some cases, extract data and destroy computers, according to documents reportedly acquired by Snowden.
The malware was previously used secretly to target only a few hundred victims.
The NSA has now developed an automated system code-named TURBINE that allows "the current implant network to scale to large size (millions of implants) by creating a system that does automated control implants by groups instead of individually".
What was a carefully-tailored programme run by a small number of human operators is being automated, it is claimed.
The document describes TURBINE as "a new intelligent command and control capability designed to manage a very large number of covert implants".
These implants are thought to be capable of spying on individuals through their PC cameras and microphone, extracting files, monitoring computer usage, and destroying a computer's files.
Earlier documents leaked by Snowden suggest up to 100,000 computers were infected in this way.
The TURBINE revelations suggest a far higher number may be more infected.
Computer users spend billions on anti-malware software.
The revelations indicate British and American taxpayers' money is being spent developing new malware that is then circulated on the internet.
Critics say neither intelligence agency can guarantee that the malware is not being used by the wrong people.
The programmes therefore make the internet less safe, say critics.
The report claims one technique, code-named QUANTUMHAND, tricks users into thinking they are logging into Facebook by masquerading behind a fake Facebook server.
The disguised NSA server squirts malicious data packets that allow spies to gain control of the victim's computer.
:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.