NSA Secrets Stolen From Computer Using Kaspersky Software

NSA Secrets Stolen From Computer Using Kaspersky Software

NSA Secrets Stolen From Computer Using Kaspersky Software

Russian hackers stole information about how the National Security Agency gains access to foreign computer networks and protects those in the United States by exploiting an NSA contractor's use of a popular antivirus program, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The material was highly classified and was identified by the hackers since the contractor was using Russian Kaspersky Lab antivirus software, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The incident occurred in 2015, according to the WSJ, but was not discovered until previous year.

The NSA contractor, who has not been publicly identified, has been cooperating with USA federal authorities, the reports cited unidentified sources as saying. The government has yet to answer repeated questions regarding the basis for that concern. Those may have included NSA code and documents describing software that, in practice, act like malware targeting computer networks of other nations. In August, reports surfaced that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was actively warning companies against using Kaspersky software, which Best Buy stopped selling last month.

The theft of the material enabled the Russian government to more easily detect and evade US government cyberespionage operations, thwart defensive measures and track USA activities, the individuals said.

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Kaspersky AV found the NSA exploit while scanning the machines. Kaspersky has always been accused of having close ties with the Russian government, going as far as aiding it in spying on the USA governments through, as in this case, contractors and ordinary citizens. After Snowden and Booz Allen, this is the third instance of an unnamed NSA contractor breaching NSA security.

"The only conclusion sees to be that Kaspersky Lab is caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight". He's a well-respected figure in the infosec community and the USA government's decision to ban his company's products from federal use last month was also accompanied by few details about the government's reasoning. "We make no apologies for being aggressive in the battle against cyberthreats".

US Senator Ben Sasse, a member of the Armed Services Committee, chastised the NSA in a statement. "If these reports are true, Russian Federation has pulled that off", he said.

At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in May, the chiefs of six major USA spy agencies all said they would not use Kaspersky software on their computers. "The NSA needs to get its head out of the sand and solve its contractor problem". US officials allege the company has ties to the Russian government, and they have increasingly expressed concern that foreign hackers could try to utilize Kaspersky Lab software to spy on Americans, steal sensitive files or attack critical infrastructure. Even Kaspersky Labs too has refuted the charges of helping home-country in stealing NSA's cyber defence details, as there is no tangible evidence to prove its involvement in the crime.

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