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For a summary of quite a few of the techniques mentioned in the Ars article, have a look at:

Hardware backdooring is possible - By Jonathan Brossard http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRpilXPv8pU

(This one more recent from nullcon, made a splash from DefCon 20 earlier).

It's not really much of a stretch that an agency (commercial, criminal or government) that dedicated a few man-years of work could come up with something along these lines.

There's really only one-and-a-half "out there" claims: the "half" being networking via audio, the "one" being cross-platform.

It'll be interesting to see if they manage to grab a dump of the malware and we can get more eyes looking at it...

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