NSA claims new Chinese malware can destroy entire American economy

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In a recent interview with “60 Minutes”, NSA officials claimed that China has developed a new type of BIOS-based malware that can remotely destroy any computer in the world. This is quite interesting if true, and could also mean we as computer users might be in danger if such a malware is released on a global scale. It also makes us wonder if the NSA, and related agencies, have the same capability.

In the interview, one NSA employee (agent?) claims this malware has the capability to take down the American economy.

“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,” said Information Assurance Director Debora Plunkett.

Apparently, this malware is distributed by social engineering and targets emails. However, the good news is the agency has worked with computer manufacturers to close the vulnerability hole, but that doesn’t mean something similar couldn’t popup in the near future.

“This is the BIOS system which starts most computers. The attack would have been disguised as a request for a software update. If the user agreed, the virus would’ve infected the computer.” he added. “Think about the impact of that across the entire globe. It could literally take down the U.S. economy.”

We doubt such a malware has the capabilities to take down the U.S. economy. Actually, we doubt any single piece of malware can take down any economy in the world. This is probably a clear ploy to make China come off as the big bad wolf. Which I’m sure they are, at least in some aspects — right alongside with our friends in the NSA and co.

[via CBS]

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4 comments

  1. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    [@Mike S.] If there was factual basis for it, it wouldn’t be opinion now would it — it would be fact.

    I’m afraid you are misguided if you think one piece of malware can take down the entire economy of a country. There are so many differentiated de-centralized systems, especially in the US, for one malware to take down the whole economy. Cause havoc? Maybe, if lucky. Destroy? Nope.

  2. Mike S.

    “We doubt such a malware has the capabilities to take down the U.S. economy. Actually, we doubt any single piece of malware can take down any economy in the world. This is probably a clear ploy to make China come off as the big bad wolf.”

    Thank you for your opinion–and do you have any factual basis for it?

    I have no doubt that China, as well as the U.S. and other countries, have such malware or the ability to develop it. Nor do I doubt that, if successful, such malware indeed could take down an economy. If you doubt that capability, you have not read the news of malware attacks in the past few years.