November 24, 2013 5:40 pm -

The National Security Agency hacked more than 50,000 computer networks last year and infected them in the process, according to an Edward Snowden-originated leak.

The new revelation comes from a 2012 PowerPoint slide published by Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. The document shows a world map that highlights, among other things, more than 50,000 “world-wide implants” under the category “CNE” (Computer Network Exploitation) — NSA jargon for malware infections…

Computer Network Exploitation includes “enabling actions and intelligence collection via computer networks that exploit data gathered from target or enemy information systems or networks,” according to an NSA description of the program.

Once the malware is planted inside a network, the NSA’s hackers can control it remotely to extract data at will. “The ‘implants’ act as digital ‘sleeper cells’ that can be activated with a single push of a button,” the Dutch paper reported.

Cheston Catalano