According to a report in The Verge, December, this already happens: .."the intelligence agency's elite hacking unit (TAO) is able to conduct sophisticated wiretaps in ways that make Hollywood fantasy look more like reality. The report indicates that the NSA, in collaboration with the CIA and FBI, routinely and secretly intercepts shipping deliveries for laptops or other computer accessories in order to implant bugs before they reach their destinations".
The technology, which the agency has used since at least 2008, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers. In some cases, they are sent to a briefcase-size relay station that intelligence agencies can set up miles away from the target.
The spy program involved is called Quantum and it has allegedly been used against the Russian military, Mexican police groups and drug cartels, and the governments of US allies like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and India. Gawker reports there is no evidence to suggest that it has been used in the good old USA.
It also regularly targets the Chinese army who the US has accused of similar actions in the past. With one hand the USA is courting China, for its gold and trade, but with the other it treats the country as an enemy. Still it also does that to the UK, Germany, France and others.
The statement that US computers have not been targeted is not reassuring in light of the lies exposed during the last year. Quantum will not endear the USA and its agencies to others abroad. Above all it is dodgy dealing and an abuse of power.
The big questions are where will it all end, how deep does the rot go and is a real-life Big-Brother society just around the corner?
The advice? Switch of your computer at source when it is not in use!
New York Times