The Truth About the NSA’s Bogus Malware Apocalypse

60 Minutes’ recent NSA report has already drawn harsh criticism — but for computer security experts, one particular claim stands out. Stressing the importance of the US Cyber Command, General Keith Alexander put out a shocking idea: nations are using malware to try to bring down the US financial system, and if his agency doesn’t keep an eye on the web, they won’t be able to stop it.

NSA director of cyber defense Deborah Plunkett described the threat as a BIOS attack, kicking in as soon as a computer boots up and rendering every device it touches completely inoperable. It’s the kind of thing antivirus companies like Symantec have been warning about since the ’90s, often with the help of journalists — but Plunkett was saying she’d seen it in the wild. “One of our analysts actually saw that the nation state had the intention to develop and to deliver, to actually use this capability to destroy computers.” She painted the attack as a cascade of destruction, laying waste the nation’s technological infrastructure. “It could literally take down the US economy,” Plunkett warned.

So, could it? NSA skepticism aside, should we be bracing for the kind of worst-case-scenario worm that Plunkett describes?

via The truth about the NSA’s bogus malware apocalypse | The Verge.

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