A newly released report over the weekend, suggest that the NSA has spent considerable time infecting more than 50,000 networks with malware. An article written by the NRC.nl news site called NSA infected 50,000 computer networks with malicious software, talks to the exploitation of more than 50,000 networks worldwide that have been infiltrated by the NSA to act as intelligence gathering zombies that can be spun up and spun down remotely.
The report comes from newly released documents provided by Edward Snowden. Snowden, you might remember, is the individual that stole classified US information and later ended up living in Russia. We've covered this topic quite a bit and you can grab a recap here: Windows IT Pro's NSA coverage.
The report goes on to suggest that the NSA has actually been carrying out this type of "hack" since 1998. So, while it's not a new operation, it's new to many Americans and the worldwide audience that the US has been covertly infecting networks with its own type of malware.
What's not indicated in the reports, though, is how to identify if your own network is harboring the NSA zombie code, and it's also not evident if AV vendors have solutions available to remove the offending shadow bits.
Throughout this entire escapade, it's becoming increasingly clear that what we thought was only fictional stories meant for TV and movies is a reality. This does not come at the best time, considering that US-based companies are struggling against the world economy for Cloud-based services. Technology vendors see the Cloud as the next gold rush, but many worldwide now view US-based Cloud services as a poor proposition, almost in retaliation to the NSA's unlawful operations.
Another recent report from TBR, Inc., shows that companies are more likely to roll out Private Clouds (on-premise) than to invest any time, resource, or money into a public or Hybrid Cloud offerings. And, it's squarely a matter of trust. No matter how many outages have been reported lately (and, they have been many) for Cloud service providers, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and others, businesses tend to focus more on the privacy and security problems of the Cloud in relation to storing intellectual property and critical data in a hosted datacenter. And, no matter how many stats Gartner throws around about public Cloud adoption through 2015 or 2016, Gartner will continue to be pumping out wrong information until Cloud providers can change public perception.