Our tech toys are hacker tools

Credit: flickr/Yo Spiff

What a good morning slap in the face from Fast Company: "A top Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official has admitted on the record that electronics sold in the U.S. are being preloaded with spyware, malware, and security-compromising components by unknown foreign parties." I knew my alarm clock hated me.

Unfortunately, it's far worse than my alarm clock always going off too early. Somewhere, intelligent consumer technology is being loaded with rootkits and hacker back doors and more. These attack tools could be loaded during design, production, or configuration, anywhere in the world. If crooks can make counterfeit, say, router parts for big name enterprise router products, why are we surprised they'd make more money by adding some spyware to a few chips as well? And will Congress getting involved help us or the hackers?

Threat level: Yellow

Format your USB memory sticks, my friends... Malware infection from right-out-of-the-shrink-wrap hardware has cropped up again and again, but I'm incredulous about the threat warranting congressional involvement. -- Justin Freid on Fast Company
If this is really a big problem, then there would be reports in the commercial world with evidence. The cybersecurity industry has a huge "rush to blog" problem to point out big issues. Yet, there is no references from anti-virus vendors or others in the industry. -- Barry Greene on Fast Company
Well DUH! This has been going on for years - and our Heimland Sicherheit braniacs are just now catching on? 3 years ago I bought a keychain photo display - the type where you load in your own pictures. Lo and behold, as soon as I plugged it into the USB, I got a virus alert. Glad you guys are so on the ball. -- Jacques-2757417 on MSNBC.com
This just happened to my husband and I three days ago. 15 minutes after we took our brand new computer out of the box and loaded all of our anti-virus software on it, we watched in horror as it systematically sabotaged it and disabled all of our security within 10 minutes. It was like a wave. Once the first error message popped up, the other pop-ups were telling us to buy anti-virus software and we had not even gotten on the net yet. -- Brooke276 on MSNBC.com

What are you going to do about it?

Imported or counterfeit software is another good way to pass on spyware. Everyone needs a firewall program on there computer that monitors outgoing feed for hidden outgoing information packets. -- ANNED on AboveTopSecret.com
Forget tariffs. You just make it mandatory to manufacture mission critical electronics in the United States only. This is a literal Trojan Horse. -- DavidMG on MSNBC.com

Serious stuff

Wow, this could be a real game changer. With tactics like this in operation it does raise concerns about the underlying agenda with its implementation. The rumours with Windows and Mac having spyware have been around a while, so could this be another level to watch the watchers, a tool for economic warfare, leverage through blackmail or something else? With RFID compromised there is a large pool of data there. -- kwakakev on AboveTopSecret.com
I think there was another post on here about 40% of the guidance chips we ordered from China were defective and/or had back doors built in to hack the systems from out side the control units. Scary stuff tech war is defiantly here to stay. -- ParanoidAmerican on AboveTopSecret.com

Do you trust your technology (Yes/No). How do you know if it's safe or compromised?

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