The New York Times has revealed that the National Security Agency has installed software in 100,000 computers around the world allowing it to carry out surveillance on them.
Most of the software was installed by getting access to computer networks, but has also used a secret technology that allows it entry even to computers not connected to the Internet, the Times claimed.
The Times was quoting documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The technology had been in use since at least 2008 and relied on a covert channel of radio waves transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards secretly inserted in the computers. It fixed one of the biggest problems facing American intelligence agencies for years: getting into computers that people have tried to make impervious to spying or cyberattack.
Targets of the programme, code-named Quantum, have included units of the Chinese military, which ironically Washington has accused of conducting digital attacks on U.S. military and industrial targets.
Quantum was installed in Russian military networks as well as systems used by Mexican police and drug cartels, European Union trade institutions and allies such as Saudi Arabia, India and Pakistan.But it could not penetrate my computer because my computer is not connected to the interweb.