Eva Galperin and Yan Zhu write:
The NSA has seen the future of mass surveillance, and it appears they believe that the future lies in malware. Earlier this week, The Intercept reported on a series of slides and memos leaked by Edward Snowden describing the NSA’s “more aggressive” approach to signals intelligence, which circumvents encryption such as web browsing via HTTPS and email using PGP, by installing spyware directly onto targets’ computers. The NSA’s Tailored Access Operations Unit, which develops and deploys malware tools, has been described in a Der Spiegel report as “a squad of plumbers that can be called in when normal access to a target is blocked”, implying that they are a last resort for use when other methods of surveillance fail, but new slides reveal the explosive growth of TAO’s data collection via malware “implants” and plans to scale the number of infected computers from the tens of thousands potentially into the millions using a system called TURBINE.
Read more on EFF.