Why you should never, never, never, NEVER order a computer online, whether from Amazon or anybody else
Der Spiegel has a fascinating article on an entire "dark internet" set up by the NSA, but this paragraph jumped out at me:
Sometimes it appears that the world's most modern spies are just as reliant on conventional methods of reconnaissance as their predecessors.
Take, for example, when they intercept shipping deliveries. If a target person, agency or company orders a new computer or related accessories, for example, TAO [Tailored Access Operations] can divert the shipping delivery to its own secret workshops. The NSA calls this method interdiction. At these so-called "load stations," agents carefully open the package in order to load malware onto the electronics, or even install hardware components that can provide backdoor access for the intelligence agencies. All subsequent steps can then be conducted from the comfort of a remote computer.
These minor disruptions in the parcel shipping business rank among the "most productive operations" conducted by the NSA hackers, one top secret document relates in enthusiastic terms. This method, the presentation continues, allows TAO to obtain access to networks "around the world."
So, if your Xmas computer arrived a day late, maybe NSA's "Santa's Workshop" was why!
Of course, it would be utterly foily to connect that story to this one: "Apologies, Promises From UPS And FedEx About Delivery Delays". I mean, that would imply the NSA was installing a massive botnet with hundreds of thousands of nodes. And there's just no evidence for that.