Russian hackers used Kaspersky software in NSA breach

It is speculated the Russian Intelligence took help of Kaspersky Lab anti-virus software in attack, based in the country itself.

Russian hackers stole top secret cybertools from a National Security Agency contractor in yet another embarrassing compromise for US spy agencies, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. It is speculated that this breach might have given an advantage to the Russian Intelligence to interfere in 2016 Presidential elections in the U.S. It's the third time since 2013 that a theft of sensitive information involving an NSA contractor has become publicly known. Jeanne Shaheen said Thursday that the widespread use of Kaspersky software was no excuse for what she called the slow action by the USA intelligence community and the broader federal government.

According to the report, the hackers targeted a contractor working for the NSA who put highly classified information on his home computer.

Kaspersky rubbished these claims, denying "inappropriate ties with any government" and stated the USA government's decision to be 'based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions, including claims about the impact of Russian regulations and policies'. Kaspersky has just seen his U.S. government business trashed over fears he might have been working a little closely with Putin's spooks.

"NSA operates in one of the most complicated information technology environments in the world", the agency said in a statement provided to The Associated Press.

The timing of this seems pretty curious, too. Nor should a new Wall Street Journal report claiming that Russian hackers infiltrated the National Security Agency in 2015, and at least a full year passed before the NSA realized anything had happened.

"For the past several years we have continued to build on internal security improvements while carrying out the mission to defend the nation and our allies around the clock", the NSA said.

Part of that answer might be found in the details of the WSJ report. In this phase the Russian intelligence exploited the software to establish a backdoor to the computer. They have enough, however, to warrant the purge. Perhaps we should just start keeping track of who hasn't been hacked.

"So how did you get it out of the office?"

The Russia-based company has been under the USA government radar for the past few years. It is believed that he took the files home to conduct extra work beyond normal business hours and never worked for a foreign government.

Kelly told the staffers the phone hadn't been working properly for months, according to the officials. One source said the man brought the materials home so he could expand his work-related skills, in hopes of being promoted. The directive was issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Elaine Duke on September 13, 2017. Politico notes, though, that Kelly's travel schedule before January is "under review", presumably to assess potential damage as well as the source of the penetration. The same contractor took some classified files from the NSA and saved them on his personal computer. Say, did Hillary Clinton's home-brew server use Kaspersky for its anti-virus program?

  • Rogelio Becker