Leaked documents detail broad reach of US cyberoperations

US spy agencies carried out 231 offensive cyberattacks in 2011, primarily targeted at Iran, Russia, North Korea, and China, The Washington Post reports.

NSA chief General Keith Alexander takes prepared audience questions from Black Hat general manager Trey Ford at Black Hat 2013. The NSA's secret budget is part of the latest documents leaked by Edward Snowden to the Washington Post. Seth Rosenblatt/CNET
This week's round of NSA spying revelations involved new documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealing US spy agencies' proposed $52 billion "black budget" for 2013 . But The Washington Post has delved even further into those documents to show exactly how those hefty funds can be put into action.

In 2011, US spy agencies carried out 231 offensive cyberattacks, primarily targeted at Iran, Russia, North Korea, and China, The Washington Post reported Friday.

The Post also revealed that under a $652 million project called "Genie," US agencies broke into foreign computer networks, placing "covert implants" on "tens of thousands of machines every year." What's more, US intelligence services intend to broaden those numbers into the millions.

One of the most high-profile examples of an offensive cyberoperation is Stuxnet , a sophisticated computer virus, believed to have been created by the US and Israel, that was used to attack a nuclear enrichment facility in Iran in 2010.

About the author

Desiree Everts DeNunzio is a freelance editor and writer. She's dabbled in digital media and technology for the past decade, including stints at CNET News and Wired magazine. When she's not fiddling with various gadgets, she spends her time running after chickens and her own brood.

 

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