U.S. intelligence services carried out 231 offensive cyber-operations in 2011, the leading edge of a clandestine campaign that embraces the Internet as a theater of spying, sabotage and war, according to top-secret documents [from Edward Snowden]. Additionally, under an extensive effort code-named GENIE, U.S. computer specialists break into foreign networks so that they can be put under surreptitious U.S. control.
Budget documents say the $652 million project has placed ‘covert implants,’ sophisticated malware transmitted from far away, in computers, routers and firewalls on tens of thousands of machines every year, with plans to expand those numbers into the millions. … The implants that [an NSA group called Tailored Access Operations (TAO)] creates are intended to persist through software and equipment upgrades, to copy stored data, ‘harvest’ communications and tunnel into other connected networks.
This year TAO is working on implants that “can identify select voice conversations of interest within a target network and exfiltrate select cuts,” or excerpts, according to one budget document. In some cases, a single compromised device opens the door to hundreds or thousands of others.
Original news: http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/0rtGDCamZyU/story01.htm