Published: Sat, October 07, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

WSJ Report Says Russian Hackers Stole Cyber-Defense Details from NSA

WSJ Report Says Russian Hackers Stole Cyber-Defense Details from NSA

Citing "multiple people with knowledge of the situation", the report claims an NSA contractor put classified data on its home computer and alleges that hackers identified the files through the contractor's use of antivirus software made by Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab.

The incident occurred in 2015 but wasn't discovered until spring of a year ago.

The apparent use of Kaspersky antivirus software may be significant, although it's not clear what its role was in the data theft. The Sept. 13 directive gave federal agencies 90 days to stop using the products.

Breach, alleged to be via Kaspersky software, could enable Russian Federation to evade NSA surveillance and more easily infiltrate U.S. networks.

The revelation comes as concern over Russian infiltration of American computer networks and social media platforms is growing amid a USA special counsel's investigation into whether Donald Trump's presidential campaign sought or received assistance from the Russian government.

Russian Federation has granted asylum to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked a trove of classified USA documents on government surveillance in 2013.

USA officials have yet to publicly present any evidence of concerning links between Kaspersky Lab employees and elements of the Russian government.

The officials, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because the inquiries are classified, would not provide details of the information they have collected on Kaspersky. It is the first known case of Russians using the popular antivirus Kaspersky software to hack US national security information.

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Kaspersky Lab is a Russian company with alleged ties to state-sponsored cyberespionage.

At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in May, the chiefs of six major US spy agencies all said they would not use Kaspersky software on their computers. An ABC News investigation earlier this year found that - largely through outside vendors - Kaspersky Lab software has been procured by some segments of the Defense Department, Justice Department and other federal agencies.

A spokesman for the NSA would not comment on the security breach.

Although the many agencies in the United States government are switching away from Kaspersky software, this is the first known incident of the software being exploited to allow cyber espionage against the US.

"We patch the most severe bugs in a matter of hours, so why not make the world a bit more secure by reporting the vulnerability to us?"

Republican Senator Ben Sasse (NE) said that it is more hard "to beat your opponent when they're reading your playbook", according to the Post.

"NSA needs to get its head out of the sand and solve its contractor problem". 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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