Russian Hackers Stole Material On NSA's Offensive, Defensive Tactics

Russian Hackers Stole Material On NSA's Offensive, Defensive Tactics

With the help of anti-virus software developed by Kaspersky Lab, a Russia-based company, they managed to lift the intelligence from the contractor's personal machine in "one of the most significant security breaches in recent years". If you want to hack a phone, order a cyber attack on a competitor's website or buy a Trojan programme to steal banking information, look no further than the former Soviet Union.

Unnamed sources say an NSA contractor brought the material home with him in 2015 where it was identified by hackers working for the Russian government through the contractor's use of antivirus software made by Russia's Kaspersky Lab. Kaspersky says it has more than 400 million users around the world, and United States security officials have long believed it works with the Russian government.

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 on Thursday. In fact, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke said in September that she was banning the entire federal government from using Kaspersky. How that data then apparently came into the hands of Russian hackers is unknown, but it's possible Kaspersky employees passed that virus signature information and files onto the Russian government.

Pursuant to the memo, federal contractors using classified information systems are being given a total of 90 days to have the products removed from their systems.

Kaspersky's products were banned from US government networks last month due to suspicions they help the Kremlin conduct espionage.

Kaspersky Lab's CEO, Eugene Kaspersky, dismissed the recently-disclosed case as a "new conspiracy theory". 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. His machine was running a Russian security program made by Kaspersky Labs, which can be exploited by Russia's intelligence agencies, the Journal reported. So the failure reported by the Journal might not amount to the loss of what intelligence workers might call "the keys to the kingdom".

"Kaspersky Lab is facing one of the most serious challenges to its business yet, given that members of the US government wrongly believe the company or I or both are somehow tied to the Russian government", he recently wrote on his blog.