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posted by martyb on Friday October 06, @09:48AM   Printer-friendly
from the whom-can-you-trust? dept.

According to unverifiable sources, an NSA contractor stored classified data and hacking tools on his home computer, which were made available to Russian hackers through the contractor's use of Kaspersky Lab anti-virus software:

Russian government-backed hackers stole highly classified U.S. cyber secrets in 2015 from the National Security Agency after a contractor put information on his home computer, two newspapers reported on Thursday.

As reported first by The Wall Street Journal, citing unidentified sources, the theft included information on penetrating foreign computer networks and protecting against cyber attacks and is likely to be viewed as one of the most significant security breaches to date.

In a later story, The Washington Post said the employee had worked at the NSA's Tailored Access Operations unit for elite hackers before he was fired in 2015.

[...] Citing unidentified sources, both the Journal and the Post also reported that the contractor used antivirus software from Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, the company whose products were banned from U.S. government networks last month because of suspicions they help the Kremlin conduct espionage.

Kaspersky Lab has strongly denied those allegations.

Russian government officials could have used flaws in Kaspersky software to hack into the machine in question, security experts told Reuters. They could also have intercepted traffic from the machine to Kaspersky computers.

Kaspersky said in a statement on Thursday that it found itself caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight.

"Kaspersky Lab has not been provided any evidence substantiating the company's involvement in the alleged incident reported by the Wall Street Journal," it said. "It is unfortunate that news coverage of unproven claims continue to perpetuate accusations about the company."

This may be the source of files released by The Shadow Brokers. According to yet another anonymous source, the lax contractor in question is not Harold Martin.

Also at WSJ, The Hill, and The Verge.

Previously: NSA 'Shadow Brokers' Hack Shows SpyWar With Kremlin is Turning Hot
The Shadow Brokers Identify Hundreds of Targets Allegedly Hacked by the NSA
"Shadow Brokers" Release the Rest of Their NSA Hacking Tools
Fearing Shadow Brokers Leak, NSA Reported Critical Flaw to Microsoft
Kaspersky Lab has been Working With Russian Intelligence
FBI Reportedly Advising Companies to Ditch Kaspersky Apps
Federal Government, Concerned About Cyberespionage, Bans Use of Kaspersky Labs Products


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06, @10:24AM (12 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06, @10:24AM (#577919)

    The part about the NSA contractor's unauthorized (and patently stupid) actions is one thing. There are facts to be scrutinized here.

    OTOH, blaming Kaspersky because, you know, Russians are Teh Evilz, is just pushing a worn-out narrative with no more evidence than back-fence gossip without proof.

    TFA gets a 50% on the Fake News scoreboard.

    Meanwhile, Kaspersky has offered to provide their source code to .gov for analysis.

    Where's the analysis?

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  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 06, @10:46AM (4 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 06, @10:46AM (#577926) Journal

    Meanwhile, Kaspersky has offered to provide their source code to .gov for analysis.

    To be fair to the gubbies, that's completely irrelevant since it would be trivial to run something different on the contractor's machine.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06, @10:58AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06, @10:58AM (#577930)

      Um...there's this checksum thing ya know.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 06, @11:42AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 06, @11:42AM (#577949) Journal
        And?
      • (Score: 0, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06, @12:15PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06, @12:15PM (#577961)

        Um...there's this collision thing ya know.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by HiThere on Friday October 06, @05:26PM

          by HiThere (866) on Friday October 06, @05:26PM (#578148)

          Collisions with working code on both ends are quite difficult to manage without LOTS of blatant garbage included in the more recent version. So that argument essentially fails.

          --
          Put not your faith in princes.
  • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Friday October 06, @11:16AM (6 children)

    by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 06, @11:16AM (#577941) Homepage Journal

    Yep. Next thing, they'll be saying don't use Kaspersky: use MS anti virus. And Windows. Always windows. Isn't that right, God....errrr, Mr Gates.

    I. Don't. Trust. The. Governments. Anymore!

    --
    --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
    • (Score: 4, Touché) by c0lo on Friday October 06, @11:25AM (5 children)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 06, @11:25AM (#577945)

      I. Don't. Trust. The. Governments. Anymore!

      Have you noticed any improvement in your life since you started to not trust the government?

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06, @03:25PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06, @03:25PM (#578057)

        I. Don't. Trust. The. Governments. Anymore!

        Have you noticed any improvement in your life since you started to not trust the government?

        Taking this comment seriously for a second... it dismisses the "herd immunity" of individual actions. For example, it is usually better (read: easier, cheaper, more rewards, less punishment) for any individual person to cooperate with authorities. However, if everybody does so, it results in an erosion of rights of individuals, such as courts recognizing the decreased expectations people have of privacy.

        Even if somebody's individual life degrades, the overall life of everybody may improve fractionally for each small act of defiance against authoritarianism.

        Just to Godwin it, everybody who stood quiet or even joined in Kristallnacht [wikipedia.org] or indeed the entire rise of Nazi-ism certainly had a much better life than the ones who defied it.

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday October 06, @09:01PM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 06, @09:01PM (#578337)

          Taking this comment seriously for a second... it dismisses the "herd immunity" of individual actions.

          On the line of taking the comment seriously... it doesn't dismiss anything. Look, does the fact that the herd doesn't trust the government bring any improvement in the herd's life?

          I mean: yes, the lack of trust in the government is necessary, but is it sufficient?
          (if you just don't trust your government, congratulation... you learnt the freedom 101, here's your ribbon; mind with that pin, you clumsy. Now, go play with your prick in the sandbox, see if the government care about your trust)

      • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Saturday October 07, @03:29AM (2 children)

        by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Saturday October 07, @03:29AM (#578468) Homepage Journal

        Yes! The TPP was dropped because of activism among non-trusters (although, of course, vigilance is necessary). Stupidity like that would have made my life worse.

        --
        --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Saturday October 07, @10:51AM (1 child)

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Saturday October 07, @10:51AM (#578535)

          And me who thought TPP was dropped only because it has had Obama's blessing.
          Maybe your (and others') life is not worse, but I don't see it any better.

          (what orange "great builder"... what has he build so far in the places where he "demolished Obama's constructions", what exactly is his counter-proposal?)

          • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Saturday October 07, @03:48PM

            by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Saturday October 07, @03:48PM (#578595) Homepage Journal

            It's better because it's NOT worse!
            :)

            --
            --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---