RUSSIANS STEAL NSA STRATEGIES, DATA USED FOR US HACKING AS WELL AS DOMESTIC PROTECTION
Another day, another Russia hacks story, though this instance is not related to last Fall’s national election, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. The only obvious relation between the hacks is how Russia continues to adapt classic, obvious spy craft to the digital cold war. Hackers from Russia managed to steal information from the NSA itself about its cyber tactics and strategy to gain access to foreign networks as well as how it protects the US’s own domestic systems. The hackers gained access by exploiting a popular antivirus program used by the NSA.
NSA CONTRACTOR COPIED WORK TO HOME COMPUTER, RUSSIAN HACKERS GAIN CASUAL ACCESS, STEAL ACTUAL CODE FROM NSA
The story came to light last week when the Wall Street Journal reported the hack, citing as yet unnamed sources with knowledge of the matter. According to the WSJ, hackers working for the Russian government stole the sensitive data in 2015, taking advantage when a contractor working for the NSA transferred material to his home computer. The sources asserted that the stolen material also included actual code used by the NSA when attempting to penetrate foreign computer networks.
ANOTHER BLACK EYE FOR NSA, DAMAGING SETBACK FOR INTELLIGENCE WORK
Clearly, this is another strategically damaging embarrassment for US intelligence services.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Russian hackers identified the classified material by exploiting antivirus software that a contractor used made by Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity company whose links to the Russian government have come under scrutiny.
THEFT NOT DISCOVERED FOR A YEAR, STILL NOT DISCLOSED BY NSA, IMPACT UNKNOWN
The theft was not discovered until early in 2016, according to the report, and has still not been disclosed. It was not clear whether the NSA contractor was terminated or facing repercussions for removing classified information without permission, a violation of agency policy for which he could potentially face criminal charges.
According to the Wall Street Journal, members of Congress were informed about the serious breach, which was “given a classified code name and set off alarms among top national security officials.”
Kaspersky Lab told the Wall Street Journal that it “has not been provided any information or evidence substantiating this alleged incident” and said it “must assume that this is another example of a false accusation.”
“Whether the information is credible or not, NSA’s policy is never to comment on affiliate or personnel matters,” a spokesman told the Wall Street Journal.