Russians allegedly hacked NSA via Kaspersky flaw

THURSDAY JUNE 6 2013 FILE

Hackers backed by the Russian government stole highly classified cyber secrets in 2015 after an NSA contractor placed the information on his home computer, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The hack is understood to have taken place in 2015 but was not discovered until the spring of previous year. The company said in a statement that it "has not been provided any information or evidence substantiating this alleged incident". These files contained information on how the NSA infiltrates computer networks of other countries, like Russian Federation, and how it also defends its own networks from spying by other countries, like Russian Federation. But for those who do believe Kaspersky's ties to the Russian government, that's actually not surprising at all. Those may have included NSA code and documents describing software that, in practice, act like malware targeting computer networks of other nations.

That led the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to order all U.S. agencies to stop using any of the security company's software, a month after technology retailer Best Buy stopped offering its products. It also could give the Russians methods to infiltrate the networks of the USA and other nations, these people said. Kaspersky Lab may or may not have been involved in this breach, but it's absolutely clear that the NSA needs to get its crap together.

Despite the fact that Russian Federation is reportedly to blame for this latest NSA hack, the fact that the nation's top surveillance agency seems to have such poor security itself is extremely unsettling.

As a private company, Kaspersky Lab does not have inappropriate ties to any government, including Russian Federation, and the only conclusion seems to be that Kaspersky Lab is caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight.

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The breach happened despite the fact that United States agencies have been banned from using Kaspersky over spying fears - demonstrating that, regardless of an organisation's policies, if an insider can still circumvent them whether intentionally or not, data will still be placed at serious risk.

Kasperky Labs' anti-virus software that runs on millions of personal computers around the globe, was found to be running on the contractor's system. The software was then used as a vulnerability by Russian individuals or organizations who stole the confidential data.

Although there is still uncertainty surrounding Kaspersky's alleged role in the theft, news of the attack has once again brought NSA back in the spotlight, making this the third instance in the past four years for the agency to have sustained a breach due to an insider accessing classified information. We make no apologies for being aggressive in the battle against malware and cybercriminals - you shouldn't accept any less.

US Senator Ben Sasse, a member of the Armed Services Committee, chastised the spy agency in a statement: "It's a lot harder to beat your opponent when they're reading your playbook, and it's even worse when someone on your team gives it to them".

This copying process may have been exploited by Russian hackers or it may have been security analysts at Kaspersky who alerted Russian security researchers about the existence of the NSA data.

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