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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

Original Submission

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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
    • (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.